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Big Olaf Creamery recalls ice cream weeks after being told of listeria probe

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Big Olaf Creamery is recalling its ice cream products as officials investigate an outbreak of listeria that has killed one person and hospitalized 22 others. 

The Sarasota, Florida-based company on Tuesday recalled all Big Olaf brand ice cream, which was sold at Big Olaf retailers, restaurants and nursing homes in Florida, and one location in Fredericksburg, Ohio, according to a notice posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

The recalled ice cream came in pint-size containers, plastic half-gallon containers and plastic 2.5-gallon tubs with all expiration dates through June 30, 2022. 

Big Olaf stopped producing and distributing its ice cream on July 1, when it learned of an outbreak investigation, the company stated. The following day, it dismissed as “only speculation” that the brand was linked to the outbreak in a statement on its Facebook page. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the following week warned consumers to throw out Big Olaf ice cream, saying it was concerned it could still be in homes or for sale at stores. 

The CDC said the 23 reported listeria cases came from 10 different states. Almost all of the patients either live in Florida or traveled there about a month before getting sick. One person in Illinois died after contracting the disease, the CDC said. Five of the people were pregnant, one of whom lost the fetus.

Listeria is a bacterial infection caused by eating contaminated food that can cause severe infection, according to the CDC. It is most dangerous to those who are pregnant, over 65, or with compromised immune systems. Symptoms include diarrhea and fever, and most recover without treatment, the agency stated.

The family-owned business behind the recalled ice cream bills it as made by “local Amish craftsmen” on its website. It did not immediately return a request for comment.

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