CDC warns of potential listeria contamination in Big Olaf ice cream products

Photo (c) Hailshadow - Getty Images

The creamery says it’s working with health officials to remedy the situation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a food safety alert for a possible listeria outbreak linked to Big Olaf ice cream. The agency reported that there have been 23 illnesses, 22 hospitalizations, and one death on Monday. 

Listeria is a foodborne bacterial illness that can be especially dangerous to pregnant women, people over the age of 65, and those who have a weakened immune system. It's most commonly caused by consuming unpasteurized milk products -- like ice cream -- and improperly processed deli meats.

The CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) take listeria seriously and penalize companies that don’t meet their health standards. Just a couple of years ago, Blue Bell Creameries paid a record fine over listeria contamination in its products. The company's president was charged with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in relation to his purported efforts to hide what was known about the contamination from consumers.

What precautions the CDC suggests

The CDC suggests consumers should throw away any Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream products that they possess. To further protect consumers, Big Olaf Creamery is voluntarily contacting retail locations to recommend that their ice cream products be removed from store shelves until further notice.

“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,” a Big Olaf representative wrote in a Facebook post

“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 2021. 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.”

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