In a follow-up on the multistate outbreak of Listeria in people who live in or traveled to Florida, an investigation by The Florida Department of Health, CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several other states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have linked the outbreak to ice cream.
As a result of this investigation, Big Olaf Creamery in Sarasota, FL, is voluntarily contacting retail locations to recommend against selling their ice cream products. Consumers who have Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream at home should throw away any remaining product. Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream is only sold in Florida.
Public health officials continue to interview people about the foods they ate in the month before they got sick. Of the 17 people interviewed, 14 (82%) reported eating ice cream. Among 13 people who remembered details about the type of ice cream they ate, six reported eating Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream or eating ice cream at locations that might have been supplied by Big Olaf Creamery.
23 people infected with the outbreak strain have been reported from 10 states.
22 people have been hospitalized and one death has been reported from Illinois.
Five people got sick during their pregnancy, and one illness resulted in a fetal loss.
Big Olaf Creamery today responded:
For now it is only speculation as it is an ongoing investigation, our brand has not been confirmed to be linked to these cases, I am not sure why only Big Olaf is being mentioned and targeted. The original report we got from the Florida Department of Health on Friday July 1st, was that there are 23 cases reported, the first one reported was January 2022. 6 out of the 23 patients mentioned having consumed Big Olaf ice cream, but nothing has been proven. We have been cooperating with the Florida Department of Health, FDACS and the FDA as soon as we were informed about the situation. We have been transparent and have answered all their questions and provided them with all the information requested from us, as the health and well being of the public is our first priority.
The CDC recommends businesses clean and disinfect any areas and equipment that may have touched Big Olaf ice cream products, including ice cream scoops and other serving utensils.
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Listeria can cause severe illness (known as invasive listeriosis) when the bacteria spread beyond the gut to other parts of the body.
Pregnant women, adults 65 years or older, and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness.
Symptoms of severe illness usually start within 2 weeks after eating food contaminated with Listeria, but may start as early as the same day or as late as 70 days after.
Listeria can also cause common food poisoning symptoms, like diarrhea and fever. People who experience these symptoms usually recover without treatment.