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“Smoking Gun” Found in Jeni’s Ice Cream Listeria Outbreak

“Smoking Gun” Found in Jeni’s Ice Cream Listeria Outbreak

May 7, 2015 — The source of Listeria contamination that led Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams to recall all of their products last month has been traced to a pint-filling machine, according to an update posted yesterday.

No reports of food poisoning have been linked to the products.

Jeni’s said the “smoking gun” was a positive Listeria test on the spout of a pint-filling machine. The machine was not used to fill buckets that they scoop from in the shops, but ice cream in those buckets was destroyed anyway.

The company has disposed of about 265 tons of ice cream worth about $2.5 million. They also temporarily closed scoop shops in six states while working to find the source of the contamination and disinfect their production kitchen.

Jeni’s said they will never know how Listeria got into the facility, but they will be spending at least $200,000 on upgrades to help prevent contamination:

“We are removing walls and adding cooler space, establishing color-coded hygienic zones to limit the potential for cross-contamination, installing systems to spray antibacterial foam across footpaths, and sanitary crystals will be placed around drain pipes.”

They will also shift processing of fresh fruits and vegetables to another facility.

Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that cause severe, life-threatening infections — especially in young children, older adults, and people with vulnerable immune systems. Pregnant women can also suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Symptoms in healthy adults may include high fever, severe headache, neck stiffness, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. These symptoms may appear 3-70 days after contaminated food is eaten and persist for weeks.

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