The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), together with the Florida Department of Health and public health agencies in several other states have been investigating an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes illnesses that has sickened 23 individuals in ten states.
Twenty-two of the outbreak victims have been hospitalized.
There has been one adult death, and one of the five pregnant women infected in the outbreak lost her baby.
Illnesses have been reported in Colorado (1), Florida (12), Georgia (1), Illinois (1), Kansas (1), Massachusetts (2), Minnesota (1), New Jersey (1), New York (2), and Pennsylvania (1).
Of the 18 people interviewed, all (100%) 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.
After first claiming that “nothing has been proven,” the company eventually announced a voluntary recall of its ice cream products.
The FDA has expressed concern that the recalled products may still be in consumers’ freezers, and cautions the public not to eat, sell, or serve any Big Olaf ice cream products.
What consumers need to know
- Do not eat Big Olaf Creamery ice cream.
- If you have any Big Olaf Creamery ice cream at home, throw it away.
- If you are in Florida and don’t know if the ice cream being sold is Big Olaf Creamery brand, ask the store before you buy or eat it.
- Clean any areas, containers, and serving utensils that may have touched the ice cream.
- Listeria is most likely to sicken pregnant people and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older, and people with weakened immune systems. Other people can be infected with Listeria, but they rarely become seriously ill.
- Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these Listeria symptoms:
- Pregnant people typically experience only fever, fatigue, and muscle aches. However, Listeria infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn.
- People who are not pregnant may experience headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches.
Learn more about a variety of food safety issues in TAINTED. From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures, now available in digital, print and audiobook editions.