The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Saturday that a deadly outbreak of listeria has been traced to Big Olaf Creamery in Sarasota County, Florida.
The bacteria can cause symptoms of food poisoning as well as severe illness and death. Local health care providers warn of the additional risks of spreading the disease to pregnant women who are at risk of infection.
“The infection can pass to unborn babies, causing miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth,” SMHCS spokeswoman Kim Savage said in an email.
Adults age 65 or older and people with weakened immune systems are also at risk for severe infections.
Other people can get infected Listeriabut they rarely become seriously ill,” says the CDC.
To date, the CDC has identified 23 diseases, 22 hospitalizations, and one death linked to the listeria outbreak. It affected people in 10 states, most of whom had recently traveled to Florida.
The first known disease occurred in January 2021, a CDC investigation found, and the illnesses continued until June of this year.
What should consumers do
A recall has not been issued, but customers are advised to discard any Big Olaf ice cream products they have in the house. Ice cream is only sold in Florida. “Of the 10 people with information who did not live in Florida, 8 had traveled to Florida in the month prior to becoming ill,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
What should pregnant women do?
Pregnant people who may have been affected by the outbreak should contact their healthcare provider immediately if they experience Listeria Symptoms of fever, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and muscle aches, says the CDC.
Symptoms of infection in pregnant women are usually mild, and some have no symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says acute illness in the mother is rare. The infection is treated with antibiotics.
What should people at high risk do
People 65 years of age or older and individuals with compromised immune systems should contact their healthcare provider if they experience Listeria symptoms.
Symptoms of severe infection in people who are not pregnant include: “headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, and convulsions, as well as fever and muscle aches,” the CDC says.
What retailers should do
The CDC said Big Olaf representatives are voluntarily reaching out to retailers to advise against selling any Big Olaf products until further notice.
Companies are also advised to “clean and disinfect any areas and equipment that may have touched Big Olaf ice cream products, including ice cream spoons and other serving utensils.”
About Big Olaf Creamery
Big Olaf Creamery has been open since 1982, and is headquartered in an industrial park off Cattleman Road in Sarasota County.
“The ice cream is made at a local cream shop near the Amish village of Benecraft in Sarasota,” says Big Olaf’s website. “Each tub of Big Olaf’s Ice Cream is hand-blended with the finest ingredients, then blended into frozen freezers by local Amish Craftsmen.”
There are also five Big Olaf ice cream parlor locations. There are three stores in Sarasota, plus one in Lakewood Ranch and one in Venice.