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Big Olaf’s risks consumers with continued sales of ice cream after 23 sickened – 22 hospitalized with 2 deaths.


Listeria monocytogenes is a deadly bacteria that hospitalizes over 95% of those with confirmed cultures and kills at least 25%. The most vulnerable are women who are pregnant, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems. The incubation period (between ingestion and symptom onset) is 3 to 70 days.

Why a company that knows it is under scrutiny for a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak would ignore the science and put customers at risk is really beyond comprehension, immoral and likely criminal.

We filed the first lawsuit on behalf of the family of a woman who died after eating Big Olaf’s ice cream in January 2022.

Why the Sarasota and Florida Departments of Public Health have not stopped production and sales and ordered a full recall is a failure to protect the public.

According to Ryan Ballogg of the Bradenton Herald, the Florida Department of Health is leading the epidemiological investigation of the Listeria outbreak. On Wednesday, spokesman Jeremy Redfern told the Bradenton Herald that consumers should continue to avoid Big Olaf products. 

“The Department of Health advised Big Olaf to suspend sales and production until further notice. They informed us that they’d be contacting those that serve their product to recommend that they stop serving.

“It appears that they aren’t necessarily taking our advice,” Redfern said in an email. 

In a public statement on Saturday, Big Olaf Creamery posted on Facebook that the investigation is “only speculation” and it was unclear why the company was being “targeted” after six of 23 patients had mentioned eating their ice cream. “Our brand has not been confirmed to be linked to these cases…” a post on the Big Olaf Company Facebook page reads.

“We have been cooperating with the Florida Department of Health, FDACS and the FDA as soon as we were informed about the situation,” the post continues. “We have been transparent and have answered all their questions and provided them with all the information requested from us, as the health and well-being of the public is our first priority.”

The facts:

As of June 29, 2022, a total of 23 people infected with the outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes have been reported from 10 states. Of the 22 people with information, 20 sick people reported living in or traveling to Florida in the month before they got sick, although the significance of this is still under investigation. Illnesses started on dates ranging from January 24, 2021, through June 12, 2022.

The CDC reported that sick people range in age from less than 1 to 92 years, with a median age of 72, and 52% are male. Twenty-two people (96%) have been hospitalized. Five people got sick during their pregnancy, and one illness resulted in a fetal loss. One death has been reported from Illinois.

The Florida Department of Health, CDC, public health and regulatory officials in several other states, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are collecting different types of data to investigate a multistate outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections. As a result of this investigation, Big Olaf Creamery in Sarasota, FL, is voluntarily contacting retail locations to recommend against selling their ice cream products. Consumers who have Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream at home should throw away any remaining product.

Public health officials continue to interview people about the foods they ate in the month before they got sick. Of the 17 people interviewed, 14 (82%) reported eating ice cream. Among 13 people who remembered details about the type of ice cream they ate, six reported eating Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream or eating ice cream at locations that might have been supplied by Big Olaf Creamery.

On July 1, 2022, Big Olaf Creamery in Sarasota, FL, voluntarily began contacting retail locations to recommend against selling their ice cream products. Consumers who have Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream at home should throw away any remaining product.

Public health officials continue to interview people about the foods they ate in the month before they got sick. Of the 17 people interviewed, 14 (82%) reported eating ice cream. Among 13 people who remembered details about the type of ice cream they ate, six reported eating Big Olaf Creamery brand ice cream or eating ice cream at locations that might have been supplied by Big Olaf Creamery.



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