Sarasota-based ice cream maker Big Olaf Creamery this weekend began to recall its ice cream from store shelves after public health officials linked those products to a listeria outbreak

Florida Department of Health ‘s Jeremy Redfern Saturday confirmed the recall is underway, confirming that the company has halted production of ice cream products until health officials complete their investigation.

In a food safety alert Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Florida residents and businesses to immediately throw away any ice cream produced by Big Olaf Creamery or any of its associated brands.

Big Olaf did not comment.

The company’s products are sold under various brand names and may still be on store shelves, according to the CDC. People in Florida should check with store employees before buying or eating ice cream if they are uncertain where it comes from.

Retail stores that may have sold Big Olaf Creamery products are listed on the company’s website.

The Treasure Island ice cream shop called Super Scoops, closed immediately on July 1 after learning of the outbreak, The store disposed of their supply of Big Olaf products and switched to another local provider.

The listeria outbreak is responsible for 23 illnesses — including 22 hospitalizations and one death — in 10 states. Nearly all the people live in or traveled to Florida before they got sick. Six cases were linked directly to Big Olaf, according to a statement on the company’s Facebook page.

At least  lawsuits over the outbreak are pending against Big Olaf Creamery.

About Listeria infections

Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled but can still cause serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Anyone who has eaten any recalled product and developed symptoms of Listeria infection should seek medical treatment and tell their doctors about the possible Listeria exposure.

Also, anyone who has eaten any of the recalled products should monitor themselves for the food poisoning symptoms during the coming weeks because it can take up to 70 days after exposure to Listeria for symptoms of listeriosis to develop. 

Symptoms of Listeria infection can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache, and neck stiffness. Specific laboratory tests are required to diagnose Listeria infections, which can mimic other illnesses. 

Pregnant women, the elderly, young children, and people such as cancer patients who have weakened immune systems are particularly at risk of serious illnesses, life-threatening infections, and other complications. Although infected pregnant women may experience only mild, flu-like symptoms, their infections can lead to premature delivery, infection of the newborn, or even stillbirth.

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