May 26, 2015 — Federal investigators have found evidence of inadequate cleaning and testing at an Ohio facility responsible for making Listeria-tainted ice cream sold by Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
The FDA released results of an April investigation after a Freedom of Information request by the Associated Press:
“The report said Jeni’s managers did not have an adequate sampling and testing program and were not sufficiently sanitizing some surfaces, including the floors. The report said residue was found on some equipment.”
Furthermore, the FDA said Jeni’s employees who were responsible for food safety showed a “lack of competency.” For example, towels used as sanitizing wipes didn’t actually contain any sanitizer and night-shift employees weren’t sanitizing food contact surfaces.
Another inspection from 2008 found evidence of rodents, insects, and inadequate personal cleanliness of employees. However, those problems were fixed by the inspection in April.
Jeni’s recalled all of their ice cream products last month. No illnesses have been linked to the recall. After Listeria was traced to the spout of a pint-filling machine, the company resumed making ice cream and re-opened most of their scoop shops in time for Memorial Day weekend.
In comparison, Texas-based Blue Bell ice cream still has not returned to store shelves. The company voluntarily recalled all of their products in April after Listeria-tainted ice cream was linked to 10 illnesses, including three deaths at a hospital in Kansas. In the two years before the recall, Blue Bell had found 17 positive Listeria samples on surfaces at their facility in Oklahoma, but failed to tell federal or state health officials.
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