December 24, 2020

After Listeria Recall, Jeni’s Ice Cream CEO Gives Update

After the April 23 recall of all of its products for possible Listeria contamination, Jeni’s Splendid Ice cream has posted an update from its CEO, John Lowe, on its website. At this time, no illnesses have been associated with Jeni’s ice cream products.

The company set up a  communications center at its home office that will be taking calls through the evenings over the weekend and during normal business hours starting Monday. The center is staffed by Jeni’s employees who normally work in sales, marketing, finance and operations. By Friday afternoon,  they’d handled 600 calls and emails.

jeni's-listeria-recallThe company is trying to find the source of the problem and fix it by working with “more than 10 top scientists—from sanitation experts to dairy processing experts. We are working with third party labs in Columbus and Omaha,” Lowe said. “In addition, the FDA has provided more than four people to work with us from multiple district offices, and a lab in Denver. The Ohio Department of Agriculture has provided three people to support our efforts.”

Jeni’s also began testing product samples and environmental swabs from the kitchen. Tests on pints of ice cream have been positive for Listeria and early indications are that some of the swabs from production areas will be positive. “We are encouraged that the early indications suggest we have found it and can focus on eradicating it,” Lowe said.

The company has begun an extensive cleaning process and implementing a Listeria eradication plan devised by an expert in dairy processing cleaning, he said.  “When the cleaning/eradication process is completed, we will again complete a swab-testing regime to test for the presence of Listeria.”

Lowe ended the update by assuring customers that the company would not resume production until the Listeria was eliminated.  “Beyond that, we will not open the production kitchen until we know we have the proper new systems in place to ensure this problem is never repeated. To that end, we are retaining an expert who will spend next week with us implementing new procedures for how our production kitchen operates and for instituting post-production testing protocols.”

 

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