What You Need To Know About The Recent Listeria Outbreak Linked To Ice Cream

On July 2, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released details regarding an ongoing investigation into Florida-based ice cream company, Big Olaf Creamery. The investigation comes following reports of 23 cases of Listeria infection across 10 states, a handful of which have been associated with the company's ice cream products. In addition, 22 hospitalizations have been reported, as well as one death in the state of Illinois (per ABC News).

Listeria is a bacteria that can make its way into food items that have made contact with contaminated water, soil, or infected animals (via Mayo Clinic). Such food items include raw vegetables, unpasteurized milk, meats, cheeses, and more. After consumption, individuals may experience symptoms such as fever, nausea, diarrhea, and muscle aches. In more severe cases in which the infection has spread, neck stiffness, confusion, convulsions, or difficulty with balance may set in. The emergence of symptoms is not always immediate and can take up to 30 days or more to appear. While some people may experience no symptoms whatsoever, listeria infections can be particularly dangerous for older adults, pregnant individuals, or those with compromised immunity.

Tips from the CDC regarding ice cream products

Because listeria is able to withstand freezing and refrigeration (per Mayo Clinic), the CDC has offered the following tips for consumers and retailers who either sell or have purchased Big Olaf Creamery ice cream products. First and foremost, consumers are advised to discard any ice cream products from the brand. In addition, individuals should thoroughly clean and disinfect any containers, utensils, or surfaces that may have come in contact with the ice cream. Florida retailers are advised to cease the selling of any Big Olaf products for the time being. They should also clean and sanitize any areas, equipment, or utensils that may have come in contact with the products, including ice cream scoopers (per CDC).

In a Facebook statement issued by the company, representatives noted that their products have yet to be definitively tied to the outbreak. As reported by HealthDay, the company stated, "For now it is only speculation as it is an ongoing investigation, our brand has not been confirmed to be linked to these cases. The original report we got from the Florida Department of Health on Friday, July 1st, was that there are 23 cases reported ... 6 out of the 23 patients mentioned having consumed Big Olaf ice cream, but nothing has been proven."

While there has been no official recall of the products issued at this time (per CDC), the Mayo Clinic advises anyone experiencing symptoms of listeria infection to seek medical attention.