Major recalls by two well-known ice cream companies due to the discovery of listeria bacteria raise questions about how the pathogen could have contaminated multiple ice cream manufacturing plants. A spokesman for the Food and Drug Administration says it has no evidence, for now, that the two recalls are connected.
Listeria is bacteria that can cause serious and even fatal infections in young children, and frail or older people with weak immune systems. Pregnant women infected can suffer miscarriages or stillbirths. For healthy people, listeria may cause short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has recalled all of its ice cream products nationwide. The recall includes “all ice creams, frozen yogurts, sorbets, and ice cream sandwiches for all flavors and containers,” and any product bearing the Jeni’s brand name.
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.
The recalls are shrouded in mystery since the bacteria is rarely found in ice cream because it cant grow at freezing temperatures.
The ice-cream companies aren’t the only ones recalling products over listeria fears. Sabra Dipping Co. said this month it would call back 30,000 cases of hummus after a sample tested positive for the bacteria in Michigan. In that case, there were no immediate reports of illness.
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