FOOD SAFETY NEWS – State officials have ordered Big Olaf Creamery to stop use of processing equipment in a plant associated with a deadly outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections.
The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS) is still waiting for results of product sampling, but the evidence of Listeria in the production plant is enough for the state to take action.
A spokesman with the Florida Department of Health told Food Safety News today that the agency has been investigating the outbreak for a year.
CHECK LABELS: “Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not eat, sell, or serve any recalled Big Olaf ice cream products and should throw the product away, regardless of the ‘Best By’ or expiration date.” – FDA
The agriculture and consumers services department took more than 100 samples at the manufacturing plant of Big Olaf Creamery and nine came back positive, including one from a transfer pipe from pre mix to an ice cream machine.
“FDACS has issued a stop use order of the processing equipment where the Listeria monocytogenes was found. This will effectively shut down all operations at this processing facility, which had already been done voluntarily by the company,” according to a statement today from the department.
“The ice cream is made at a local creamery near Sarasota’s Amish village of Pinecraft by local Amish Craftsmen.” – bigolaf.com
The department is still waiting for another sample to come back from the lab.
Officials from the federal Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also involved in the outbreak investigation.
“Of the 18 people interviewed, all reported eating ice cream. Among 18 people who remembered details about the type of ice cream they ate, 10 reported eating Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream or eating ice cream at locations that might have been supplied by Big Olaf Creamery.
Twelve sick people are residents of Florida and nine reported traveling to Florida before getting sick,” according to the FDA.
“A spokesperson for the [Florida Center for Disease Control] says they are very confident Big Olaf is the source.” – WWSB, mysuncoast.com
Twenty-three people have been infected with Listeria and one has died. One pregnant women suffered a miscarriage.
Owners of Big Olaf Creamery have consistently denied any connection between their products and the infections.
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Big Olaf Creamery Recalls Ice Cream Because of Possible Health Risk
FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION – Big Olaf Creamery of Sarasota, Florida is recalling all flavors and all lots of Big Olaf brand ice cream products because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
The product was sold at Big Olaf retailers in Florida as well as to consumers in restaurants and senior homes, and one location in Fredericksburg, Ohio.
The Big Olaf brand ice cream was sold to consumers in plastic pint size containers, plastic ½ gallon containers, and plastic 2.5-gallon tubs, scoopable are sold to the independent retail stores. All flavors, lots, codes, and all expiration dates through 6/30/2022 are included in this recall.
Based on epidemiological information shared by the CDC and State Officials, Big Olaf may be a potential source of illness in an ongoing Listeria monocytogenes outbreak.
On Friday July 1, 2022, Big Olaf Creamery was informed of an outbreak investigation by the Florida Department of Health and Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and immediately ceased production and distribution of the ice cream product.
As of Friday, July 8th, 2022, the CDC reported that a total of 23 people were infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes from 10 states.
Eighteen people interviewed reported eating ice cream, 10 reported eating Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream or eating at locations that might have been supplied by Big Olaf Creamery. This is an ongoing investigation and other ice cream brands not related to Big Olaf were mentioned as a possible source as well.
Big Olaf Creamery and all retailers supplied did not receive any complaints regarding product defect or sickness. No formal complaints were filed with the Florida Department of Health as of July 1st, 2022.
Based on the information provided and upon the ongoing investigation, the company has ceased production and distribution of the ice cream product and is currently working with FDA by voluntarily recalling the product.
Big Olaf is cooperating fully with regulatory authorities to successfully return all suspected products and has requested retailers to stop sales and dispose of product. Consumers who have purchased Big Olaf Ice Cream Products should not consume these products and dispose of them immediately. Any areas, containers, and serving utensils that may have touched the ice cream should be cleaned.
Consumers that may have any questions about the recall may call 941-365-7483, Monday – Saturday from 8:00am – 5:00 pm EST.