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FDA Warns Jenis Ice Cream After Finding Listeria in Facility

Aug 29, 2016

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams has received a warning letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the agency identified the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in its Ohio facility in January. In its Aug. 9 letter, the agency said two samples out of 75 tested positive for Listeria. The contaminated samples were taken near where the company manufactured the base for its Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso ice cream.

Jeni's issued a voluntary recall for Listeria contamination in 2015. Listeria was identified in a random sample collected by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. An FDA follow-up inspection in April 2015 identified twenty locations testing positive for Listeria in the facility.

The positive samples from January show that "sanitation procedures have historically been inadequate to control, reduce, or eliminate this pathogenic organism from (the Jeni's) facility." the FDA said. The agency went on to say that the frozen flavor base products are considered adulterated because they were prepared, packed or held under unsanitary conditions.

According to the FDA letter, the company committed two "significant" violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulation for foods. The FDA noted the presence of dust-like material adhering to one of the facility's surfaces, indicating that the company "failed to operate fans and other air-blowing equipment in a manner that minimizes the potential for contaminating food-contact surfaces". The letter also stated that the company failed to take the proper precautions in order to prevent contamination. In particular, the FDA said it observed an employee moving and pouring a bag of sugar in such a way where the outside of the bag came into contact with the inner food contact surface of plastic containers. Both of these observations were also noted back in April 2015, the FDA pointed out.

Listeria monocytogenesis widespread in the environment and can easily contaminate food facilities if the proper precautions are not taken. Eating food tainted with Listeria can lead to listeriosis, a severe and sometimes deadly illness. The FDA called listeriosis "a major public health concern, due to the severity of the disease, its high case-fatality rate, long incubation time, and tendency to affect individuals with underlying conditions".

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