Sarasota-based ice cream maker Big Olaf Creamery agreed to recall its ice cream from store shelves after public health officials linked the company to a listeria outbreak, Fox 13 first reported Friday.
Florida Department of Health Jeremy Redfern confirmed the recall Saturday, adding that the company has halted production of ice cream products until health officials complete their investigation.
In a food safety alert posted Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Florida residents and businesses to immediately throw away any ice cream produced by Big Olaf Creamery or any of its associated brands.
The Tampa Bay Times was not able to reach Big Olaf Creamery for comment Saturday.
The company’s products are sold under various brand names and may still be on store shelves, according to the CDC. People in Florida should check with store employees before buying or eating ice cream if they are uncertain where it comes from.
Tampa Bay area stores that may have sold Big Olaf Creamery products are listed on the company’s website.
One store, Treasure Island ice cream shop Super Scoops, closed immediately on July 1 after learning of the outbreak, said owner James Austin. The store disposed of their supply of Big Olaf products and switched to another local provider, he said.
The Times was not able to reach two other area stores for comment Saturday.
The listeria outbreak has been linked with 23 illnesses — including 22 hospitalizations and one death — across 10 states. Nearly all the people live in or traveled to Florida before they got sick. Six cases were linked directly to Big Olaf, according to a statement on the company’s Facebook page.
Listeria causes nausea, diarrhea and fever, usually within two weeks of eating the contaminated food, according to the CDC. Older adults, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems are at the highest risk of severe illness.