The listeria ice cream panic is starting to calm down. After two major independent ice cream companies, Blue Bell and Jeni’s, issued total recalls of their ice cream due to listeria scares, Jeni’s has discovered the “smoking gun” in connection with its ice cream’s listeria problem: a piece of equipment.
According to Jeni’s CEO, John Lowe, a swab test found listeria on a spout of one of the machines in the production room. The machine was not used to fill their ice cream buckets, and it’s possible that listeria did not come in contact with the actual product, but nonetheless, Jeni’s is replacing the machine and spending $200,000 to rework the entire kitchen to make it harder for pathogens to come into contact with the equipment. Jeni’s ice cream will begin production again soon.
In addition to a renovation of the kitchen, Jeni’s is implementing an aggressive environmental testing and sampling program to test more effectively for listeria and other pathogens. In addition, the dairy company will overhaul its current safety and standard operating procedures to go beyond the minimum FDA guidelines.
“The plans we have for reworking our kitchen, along with improved standard operating procedures that go above and beyond federal and state guidelines, will enable us to make the quality of ice creams we are known for, in the safest possible way,” said Lowe. “We are hopeful that we will be able to resume ice cream production in the very near future.”