CDC warns against eating ice cream from Big Olaf Creamery in Florida

Sarasota, Florida — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning people against eating ice cream sold only in Florida that has been linked to more than 20 hospitalizations and death.

The CDC is concerned that Big Olaf Creamery’s ice cream could remain in people’s homes or be available for sale in Florida stores under different company names. They advise people not to eat, serve or sell ice cream. If they have them at home, the CDC says they should throw them away.

The CDC also says that people visiting Florida who aren’t sure which brand of ice cream they’re ordering is Big Olaf Creamery should ask the store before buying or eating.

As of July 8, a total of 23 people have been reported infected with the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak strain from 10 states. 12 of those infected are Florida residents and another nine reported traveling to Florida before falling ill.

Of the people who contracted the disease, 22 were hospitalized, and one death was reported in Illinois. Five pregnant women fell ill, resulting in the loss of one of the pregnancies.

The age range of affected people ranges from less than 1 year to 92 years, with an average age of 72 years. More than half of those infected are male.

The CDC says that recent illnesses may go unreported, as it typically takes three to four weeks to determine if a sick person is part of an outbreak. The true number of people involved in this outbreak is likely to be higher than the reported number, as some people recover without medical care and are not tested.

While health officials are still trying to determine the exact source of the infection, it has been linked to ice cream. Of the 17 people health officials interviewed about the foods they ate in the month prior to getting sick, 14 reported eating ice cream.

Only 13 people remembered details about the type of ice cream they ate. Six of these reported eating Big Olaf Creamery’s brand ice cream, or eating ice cream at locations that may have been supplied by the company.

In a statement, Big Olaf Creamery said, while the company is cooperating with the ongoing investigation, “it is just speculation” that the ice cream is the culprit.

Regarding the investigation of the potential for listeriosis contamination:

At the moment, it is only speculation as it is an ongoing investigation, our brand’s association with these cases has not been confirmed. Not sure why only Big Olaf is mentioned and targeted. The original report we got from the Florida Department of Health on Friday, the 1st of July, was that there were 23 reported cases, and the first one reported was in January 2022. 6 out of the 23 patients said they ate Big Olaf’s ice cream, But nothing happened. been proven. We cooperated with the Florida Department of Health, the FDACS, and the FDA as soon as we were informed of the situation. We have been transparent, answered all their questions and provided them with all the information requested of us, as the health and well-being of the public is our number one priority.

– Big Olaf Creamery via Instagram

The CDC says public health investigators are using a system that runs a national database of bacterial DNA fingerprints to identify diseases that may be part of this outbreak. The same method was used to determine the source of salmonella spread with peanut butter in Jif.

The investigation showed that bacteria taken from patients’ samples are closely related genetically. The CDC says this means that people in the outbreak are likely to have gotten sick from the same food.

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