Packaged hard-boiled eggs linked to deadly listeria outbreak, CDC warns

Hard-boiled eggs sold to food service operators nationwide have been linked to a deadly listeria outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Thursday, the eggs had not been recalled. However, health officials have urged food service operators to stop using eggs produced by Almark Foods' Gainesville, Georgia, facility to avoid the risk of infection.

The eggs in question were hard-boiled, peeled and packaged in plastic pails of various sizes, according to the CDC. They were sold to food service operators nationwide, but not directly to consumers.

"The data collected to date has not indicated that these products are linked to illness," according to the CDC.

Officials warned that consumers would not be able to tell if they’ve bought products made with eggs from Almark Foods. The CDC recommended Wednesday that people who have a higher risk of listeria infection, including pregnant women, newborns, people over the age of 65 and people with weakened immune systems, avoid eating store-bought hard-boiled eggs or products made with hard-boiled eggs, like egg salad, until more is known about the cause of the outbreak.

Eggs hard-boiled at home have not been linked to the listeria contamination, officials said Wednesday.

Seven people in five states -- Florida, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Maine and Texas -- have been infected with the listeria strain at the center of the latest outbreak between April 2017 and November 2019, according to the CDC. Two of the cases occurred in 2017 while three were reported starting in August 2019. Those who fell ill are between 1 and 82 years of age, with a median age of 75 years old, officials said.

One person who fell ill in Texas has died from the infection, according to the CDC.

Officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC are investigating the outbreak.

Symptoms of listeria infection include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion and convulsions, according to the CDC. Pregnant women who are infected often experience only fever and other flu-like symptoms, but officials warned a listeria infection during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage.

The infection can be treated with antibiotics.

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