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Listeria outbreak linked to Florida ice cream brand, CDC says

Anyone who has ice cream from Big Olaf Creamery is recommended to throw it away.

SARASOTA, Fla. — An ice cream brand in Sarasota has been linked to a Listeria outbreak, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday.

People who have any Big Olaf Creamery products in their home are urged by the CDC to throw them away and clean any containers, serving utensils and areas that have possibly been in contact with the company's ice cream. Businesses are also encouraged to do the same. 

At least six people who've contracted listeria reported eating Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream or at locations that may have supplied them, according to the CDC. However, it's still part of an ongoing investigation.

Big Olaf Creamery is reportedly contacting retail locations to stop selling their ice cream products until further notice. 

Company officer David Peachey said stores are independently owned, therefore the manufacturer cannot force them to shut down unless there is definitive proof the outbreak is linked to them.

Peachey said he's confident in their product's safety since manufacturers have followed the same health guidelines and complete with routine inspections. However, more health inspections will take place to confirm the possible link.

Peachey recommended stores with the products be shut down for the time being until a confirmation is made. 

10 Tampa Bay spoke with one store owner in Sarasota who stated confidence in product safety until there is a definitive relation of the ice cream to listeria. 

Listeria, also known as invasive listeriosis, "is most likely to sicken pregnant people and their newborns, adults aged 65 or older and people with weakened immune systems," the CDC stated. 

Pregnant people with Listeria symptoms usually experience fatigue, muscle aches and fever. In some cases, the illness may also cause miscarriage, premature delivery, life-threatening infection of the newborn or stillbirth, the CDC says.

Those who are not pregnant may have a headache, stiff neck, loss of balance, convulsions and confusion in addition to muscle aches and fever if they contract Listeria. 

The CDC provided other facts about the illness below.

  • 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.
  • There have been a total of 23 reported illnesses with 22 hospitalizations and one death.
  • Listeria has been found in 10 states across the country. 

Big Olaf Creamery only sells its ice cream in Florida and currently has seven stores with three in Sarasota and one in Venice and Lakewood Ranch each.

For more information, click here.


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