Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams of Ohio has announced the recall of its frozen ice cream products after discovering listeria bacteria in a sample. This closely follows Blue Bell Creameries recall of all its products in response to 10 listeria infections that resulted in the deaths of three Kansas hospital patients.
Last week, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams said on its web site that it recalled all its frozen products after the listeria discovery, The Associated Press (AP) reports. Such recalls are uncommon: listeria is not usually found in ice cream because the bacteria cannot grow at freezing temperatures.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the agency has no evidence that the listeria found in the Jeni’s ice cream has any connection to the strain found in Blue Bell products. “At this time, the FDA does not believe that the finding of listeria in one sample of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is related to the outbreak and recall associated with Blue Bell Ice Cream,” said FDA spokesman Jeff Ventura. Ventura said the FDA is continuing to investigate both situations and will provide new information to consumers as the agency learns more.
Listeria bacteria can cause severe infections in infants, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems, according to the CDC. Listeria infection can lead to miscarriages and stillbirths. Healthy children and adults occasionally become infected but they do not usually become seriously ill. The symptoms of listeriosis, the illness caused by listeria bacteria, include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Symptoms can begin from three to 70 days after the bacteria is ingested. The CDC estimates that roughly 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick with a foodborne illness each year; 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of these diseases.
Listeria bacteria is found in soil and water and it can be tracked into a processing facility or carried by animals, according to the AP. The bacteria can be difficult to eliminate because it can continue to grow under refrigeration. Listeria is most commonly found in processed meats, unpasteurized cheeses, and unpasteurized milk, and it can sometimes be found in other foods as well. In 2011, listeria in cantaloupes was linked to 30 deaths.
Jeni’s is recalling all ice creams, frozen yogurts, sorbets, and ice cream sandwiches and is closing its retail stores until its products are “ensured to be 100 percent safe,” according to the AP. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that to date no illnesses are known to be linked to Jeni’s products. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture found the listeria in a sample of Jeni’s ice cream randomly collected at a Whole Foods store in Lincoln, Nebraska. The recalled ice cream was distributed in the United States to retail outlets, including food service and grocery stores, as well as online at jenis.com. The recall includes all products bearing the brand name “Jeni’s.” John Lowe, the company’s CEO, said the company will not reopen “until we can ensure the safety of our customers.”