A Florida company is recalling its ice cream amid an investigation into a listeria outbreak responsible for the death of one person and the hospitalization of two dozen, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
The company, Big Olaf Creamery, a family-owned business in Sarasota, Florida, recalled all flavors of its ice cream with an expiration date of June 30 “because it could potentially be contaminated” with listeria bacteria, the FDA said. Listeria causes an illness that can be fatal, especially in children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems, and an infection can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths in pregnant women.
Big Olaf Creamery stopped manufacturing and distributing its ice cream on July 1 after the Florida Department of Health told the company it was investigating an outbreak linked to its products, the FDA said in a statement.
The ice cream is made by Amish artisans at a creamery in Pinecraft, a Sarasota neighborhood. The products had been sold to retailers, restaurants and retirement homes in Florida, and at an undisclosed location in Fredericksburg, Ohio, the FDA said.
“Big Olaf is fully cooperating with regulatory authorities to successfully return all suspected products and has requested that retailers discontinue sales and discard the product,” the agency said in a statement. The FDA added that the investigation was continuing and that other brands of ice cream could also have caused infections.
Big Olaf Creamery did not immediately respond to a call for comment Wednesday night.
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the company was linked to a listeria outbreak in 10 states. Of those hospitalized, 10 people lived out of state and had visited Florida in the past month, the CDC said.
The people infected live in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
In the past six months, infections had occurred in people less than a year old to 92 years old, the agency said. Five became ill during pregnancy, with fetal loss, the CDC said.
As of July 8, 23 people were infected with the outbreak strain listeria, according to the agency’s website. About 1,600 people in the United States contract listeriosis each year from contaminated food.
Infections can cause flu-like symptoms, including fever, muscle aches, vomiting and diarrhea, which generally begin about two weeks after ingesting food laced with the bacteria, although the onset can vary, according to the CDC. Severe cases can take months to develop, the Food and Drug Administration said.
About one in five people with listeriosis dies, according to the CDC. The infection is particularly dangerous during pregnancy, causing fetal loss in about 20 percent of cases.
Past outbreaks have been linked to undercooked poultry, raw vegetables and unpasteurized milk and ice cream, the FDA said.