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Listeria Outbreak Reportedly Linked to Ice Cream Company


Big Olaf Creamery | Image by Trip Advisor

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A multi-state listeria outbreak is allegedly linked to an ice cream company in Florida, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Tuesday.

At least one person has died, and 22 others in 10 states have fallen ill.

Between January 2021 and last month, 23 individuals reported symptoms of listeria illnesses, and 14 of the 17 people interviewed by the CDC recalled eating ice cream before developing symptoms. Six of the 14 individuals said they ate ice cream from Big Olaf Creamery or from a business known to serve that particular brand.

The CDC reports that nearly two dozen people, mainly from Florida but also from nine other states, have fallen ill. The other states reporting cases include Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Twenty of the sickened individuals had lived in or traveled to Florida the month prior.

All but one of the sickened individuals were admitted to hospitals. The CDC said one person died, and one of the five pregnant patients who fell ill had a miscarriage. Those impacted ranged from less than a year old to 92 years old.

On Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported that the family of the Illinois woman who died from listeriosis after eating Big Olaf Creamery ice cream while visiting Florida has filed suit against the company. The lawsuit accuses Big Olaf of negligence, liability, and breach of warranty.

Last week, Big Olaf Creamery instructed merchants to stop selling its products, according to the CDC. Additionally, the CDC advised anyone who had the company’s products in their homes to discard them.

As of Wednesday morning, Big Olaf Creamery had not issued a recall.

“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,” stated the ice cream company on Facebook.

It is not clear which official from the company wrote the post.

The poster added that Big Olaf is cooperating with regulators, but “nothing has been proven.”

Symptoms of Listeria can appear as soon as the same day after consuming contaminated food, but they often appear one to four weeks later. Fever, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea are a few of these symptoms.

The CDC cautioned that the actual number of people affected in an outbreak is likely higher than the number reported, noting that it usually takes three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak.

The Florida Department of Health, the CDC, the U.S. Department of Food and Drug Administration, and various state public health and regulatory agencies are participating in the investigation.

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