Listeria infection

July 5, 2022
Ice cream cone in front of yellow backdrop

When we have a listeria outbreak, we have a very high concern because the ramifications are so serious. While we don’t have a lot of cases, the ones we do have tend to be serious.

Keith Schneider, a food safety professor at the University of Florida. The CDC is investigating a multi-state listeria outbreak linked to Big Olaf Creamery, a Florida ice cream manufacturer.

Why It Matters: Listeria is one of the more dangerous types of food poisoning and causes symptoms beginning anywhere from one day to four weeks after eating contaminated food. The current outbreak began in January 2021, but cases have been reported as recently as last month. CDC officials recommend throwing away any product connected to Big Olaf Creamery.

  • The outbreak: A CDC investigation warns of an ongoing Listeria outbreak; one person has died and over 20 others have been hospitalized. The majority of cases were reported in Florida, with most other cases involving people who recently traveled to Florida before they started to feel sick.
  • The common theme among cases is ice cream, but the CDC warns that "a specific food item has not yet been identified as the source of this outbreak." At least 14 people documented in the recent outbreak reported eating ice cream within a month of getting sick. Of the 14, six people reportedly ate Big Olaf Creamery ice cream or consumed ice cream from locations carrying the brand (NBC News).
  • The Florida ice cream company is being sued by one woman's estate after she died from a listeria infection. She visited a Big Olaf location, started to feel sick, and died almost two weeks later. The company stated that the link between their product and the outbreak has not yet been confirmed and is only speculation for now (Associated Press).
  • Something to Consider: The CDC defines a foodborne disease outbreak as "when two or more people get the same illness from the same contaminated food or drink." There were at least four multi-state listeria outbreaks in 2021.

About listeria: The CDC describes it as "a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes."

  • Higher risk people include "pregnant people, newborns, adults aged 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems." During the current outbreak, five people became sick during pregnancy; one case resulted in fetal loss.
  • Symptoms include fever, fatigue, stiff neck, headache, muscle aches and more.

Listeria outbreak linked to Florida ice cream brand, CDC finds (NBC News)

CDC: Florida ice cream possible source of listeria outbreak (Associated Press)

From the CDC – Listeria Outbreak Linked to Ice Cream

by Jenna Lee,