CDC says listeria outbreak linked to ice cream

On Saturday, federal authorities said the listeria outbreak blamed for one death and 22 hospitalizations in 10 states is linked to ice cream made in Florida.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Big Olaf Creamery, a family-owned business in Sarasota, Florida, sells ice cream exclusively in Florida. Of those hospitalized, 10 lived out of the state and had visited Florida in the previous month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The CDC said infections related to Big Olaf’s ice cream products have occurred within the past six months and have affected people under the age of one to 92. Five of them fell ill during pregnancy, and one lost a fetus.

Of the 17 people the CDC interviewed, 14 said they ate ice cream. Six people reported eating ice cream made by Big Olaf or eating ice cream where the brand may have been provided.

Big Olaf’s ice cream is made by Amish artisans at a cream shop near Beincraft, a Sarasota neighborhood, according to the company’s website.

Big Olaf began calling retail locations Friday to recommend not selling the product, said the CDC, which has advised customers to discard any leftover products from the brand. A full withdrawal has not been issued.

Representatives for Big Olaf Creamery could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Listeria bacteria cause disease that can be fatal. About 1,600 people get listeriosis in the United States each year from contaminated food.

The infection can cause flu-like symptoms, including fever, muscle aches, vomiting and diarrhea, which generally begin about two weeks after eating a food full of bacteria, although the onset can vary, the CDC said. The FDA said severe cases can take months to develop.

Previous Listeria outbreaks have been linked to unpasteurized milk, ice cream, undercooked poultry, and raw vegetables, and according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and people with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to contracting the disease.

About one in five people with listeriosis die, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The infection is particularly dangerous during pregnancy, causing fetal loss in about 20 percent of cases.

The CDC said the overall number of people infected with Listeria outbreaks is higher than what has been reported.

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