Mystery Surrounds Listeria-Linked Ice Cream Recalls
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has just recalled all of its products and is closing its stores because of a possible listeria outbreak. This comes just days after Blue Bell Creameries issued a recall of its entire product line.
Three people in Kansas have died in the past year and ten people in four states have fallen ill from the bacteria believed to have come from Blue Bell products. Blue Bell Creameries says it will close all four of its creameries in Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama next week and possibly into the following week for intensive cleaning and employee training in response to listeria illnesses linked to its ice cream.
Listeria is rarely found in ice cream because it can’t grow at freezing temperatures. The recalls are raising questions about how the pathogen could have contaminated multiple ice cream manufacturing plants - and whether the discoveries are related.A spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration says it has no evidence, for now, that the two recalls are connected.
The bacteria is found in soil and water and it can be tracked into a manufacturing facility, carried by animals or spread by employees not using proper sanitation practices. It can be very difficult to get rid of once it contaminates a processing facility, partly because it grows well in refrigeration.
Listeria monocytogenes can be particularly dangerous if consumed by the young, elderly, pregnant or those with weakened immune systems.
The bacteria can lead to serious and sometimes fatal infections, but healthy people are more likely to exhibit more minor symptoms, such as fever, headache, stiffness, nausea and diarrhea.
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