August 12, 2022

Listeria Found at Big Olaf Creamery Facility in Nine Swabs

Listeria found at Big Olaf Creamery facility in nine environmental swabs, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS). Erin M. Moffet, spokesman for that agency, said in a statement, “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.”

Listeria Found at Big Olaf Creamery Facility in Nine Swabs

That ice cream is linked to a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that has sickened at least 23 people in 10 states. Twenty-two people have been hospitalized, one person who  lived in Illinois died, and there was one fetal loss. The case count by state remains: Colorado (1), Florida (12), Georgia (1), Illinois (1), Kansas (1), Massachusetts (2), Minnesota (1), New Jersey (1), New York (2), and Pennsylvania (1).

The bacteria was found in: Two conveyor cross beams between machines, two floor drains, a squeegee in a sink, a metal floor support between machines, inside two pipes that transfer premix to the ice cream machine, and in a transfer pump outlet on a pasteurized ice cream cooler. The ice cream itself is still being tested.

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Food Safety Attorney and Food Poisoning Bulletin Publisher Eric Hageman

Noted food safety lawyer Eric Hageman, who has won many Listeria monocytogenes lawsuits against food processors, said, “No one should get seriously ill just because they decided to eat ice cream. We are glad that investigators have found the source of contamination, and hope that no more people get sick.”

Listeria monocytogenes can become established in any environment, but it prefers facilities that are moist and cool. The bacteria can grow at refrigerator temperatures, and freezing doesn’t kill it. The pathogen also resists ordinary cleaning techniques and compounds, forming a biofilm that protects it. The fact that illness onset dates in this outbreak go back to January 2021 means that the bacteria could have been in the Big Olaf facility for a long time.

Big Olaf recalled all of their ice cream on July 13, 2022. The recall includes all flavors and sizes, all lot codes, and all expiration dates up to 06/30/2022.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked the ice cream to the outbreak last week. And the Listeria found at Big Olaf Creamery adds to the evidence. Ten of eighteen patients who were interviewed said they ate Big Olaf ice cream or ate at restaurants that sold that brand before getting sick.

Symptoms of listeriosis can take up to 70 days to manifest, so this outbreak could still grow, especially since the ice cream was still being sold until a few days ago, according to the FDA. Symptoms include a high fever, stiff neck, severe headache, and muscle aches that may be preceded by diarrhea and nausea. Pregnant women may only feel like they have a mild case of the flu, but this illness can cause premature labor, stillbirth, miscarriage, and infection in the newborn.

If you have this ice cream in your freezer, discard it immediately. And if you ate any, watch your health for the symptoms of listeriosis for the next two months. If you do get sick, see your doctor.

Attorneys at the Pritzker Hageman Food Safety Law Firm

If you have been sickened with a Listeria monocytogenes infection after eating Big Olaf ice cream, please contact our experienced attorneys for help with a possible lawsuit at 1-888-377-8900 or text us at 612-261-0856. Our firm represents clients in lawsuits against grocery stores and food processors.

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