FDA says Big Olaf ice cream still on sale despite recall and deadly outbreak

The Food and Drug Administration is reporting that Big Olaf ice cream — which has been linked to a deadly outbreak of Listeria infections — may still be available for sale.

In an update of its investigation released today, the agency urges people to not sell or eat any ice cream made by the Florida company. The company issued a recall this past weekend, but the FDA has information that the ice cream may still be on sale at some unnamed locations.

The FDA, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is assisting the Florida Department of Health (FL DOH) and Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (FDACS) in investigating the outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections linked to ice cream supplied by Big Olaf Creamery of Sarasota, FL.

Media in Florida are reporting that state officials there have been investigating the company for a year, with the most recent health inspection having been completed July 6. Jeremy Redfern, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health was not immediately available for comment on the situation.

As of June 30, the CDC reported 23 illnesses in 10 states with one person having died. Five pregnant women were reported ill, with one having miscarried.

The sick people live in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

“Of the 18 people interviewed, all reported eating ice cream. Among 18 people who remembered details about the type of ice cream they ate, 10 reported eating Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream or eating ice cream at locations that might have been supplied by Big Olaf Creamery. Twelve sick people are residents of Florida and nine reported traveling to Florida before getting sick,” according to the FDA announcement today.

Owners of Big Olaf Creamery have consistently denied any connection between their products and the infections.

About Listeria infections
Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any recalledproducts and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products should monitor themselves for symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop. 

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses. 

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

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