CDC says there are very confident Big Olaf is source of listeria outbreak

Florida health officials have confirmed the Sarasota-based creamery is pulling its products...
Florida health officials have confirmed the Sarasota-based creamery is pulling its products after one death and 22 hospitalizations have been linked to the company.(Shane Battis)
Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 4:17 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Center for Disease Control spoke with ABC7 to talk about its investigation into a listeria outbreak and how they connected the investigation back to local creamery Big Olaf. So far the, outbreak has hospitalized 22 people and is linked to one death. A spokesperson for the agency says they are very confident Big Olaf is the source.

Two lawsuits have been filed against Big Olaf alleging ice cream tainted with listeria caused the death of an elderly woman and caused another woman to miscarry.

The CDC issued a second warning Friday followed by Big Olaf announced a recall on Sunday.

The CDC explained to ABC7 how they investigate and trace outbreaks using a software called Pulsenet

The Pulsenet system works with state and agencies on DNA Fingerprinting , identifying the bacteria transmitted through food. This includes E. Coli, salmonella and listeria. They can determine then if every one got sick from the same bacteria. The CDC will then closely collaborate with State Health Departments to look for other patterns.

Details of the ongoing CDC investigation listed in the alert note six patients remember eating Big Olaf ice cream, or they ate ice cream at locations that might have been supplied by the Sarasota creamery. Eighteen of those patients have been interviewed by the CDC, ten of whom claim they had recently eaten Big Olaf branded ice cream, or they ate ice cream from a location that might be supplied by the Sarasota creamery. The alert notes the investigation is ongoing, but it does not list any other food products aside from those coming from Big Olaf.

The details can be found on the CDC’s website.

Big Olaf has released one statement about the situation last week prior to the recall:

“For now, it is only speculation as it is an ongoing investigation, our brand has not been confirmed to be linked to these cases, I am not sure why only Big Olaf is being mentioned and targeted. The original report we got from the Florida Department of Health on Friday July 1st, was that there are 23 cases reported, the first one reported was January 2022. 6 out of the 23 patients mentioned having consumed Big Olaf ice cream, but nothing has been proven. We have been cooperating with the Florida Department of Health, FDACS and the FDA as soon as we were informed about the situation. 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.

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