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Jeni's Finds More Listeria, Shutting Down Stores Again

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Mandie Trimble
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WOSU
Jeni's has closed its scoop shops for the second time this year. Listeria was recently found in its production kitchen.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has more production kitchen troubles. The company announced, Friday, it has closed its production facility and scoop shops after listeria was rediscovered. 

This is the second time Jeni's has halted production and shut down scoop shops due to listeria. The first time was earlier this spring after the bacteria was found in some ice cream pints.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams CEO John Lowe wrote in his blog that the listeria was recently discovered in the production kitchen during a routine swab testing.

The company reports all ice cream that has been made since May 13 has been tested and is safe for consumption. 

Ahmed Yousef, an OSU professor and expert in food safety, suggested that the reoccurrence of listeria in the production facility means the original source was never found.

"It just indicates to me that there is an environment that has not been looked at.  An environment where listeria find it suitable for either multiplication or just survival," Yousef. said. 

Jordan Chambers, of Columbus, who stopped by the Short North scoop shop, was disappointed to learn the listeria is back.

“It’s kind of hard to come back to a place that has been shut down for the same incident...I’m sure it is going to have a pretty negative impact on them," Chambers said. 

David Hammond, of Wheeling, West Virginia, had hoped to get some Jeni’s while he was in town. Hammond said the second shut down won’t discourage him from coming back.

“I mean, I’m sure it will have an effect on their business, but I mean if they seem to have it fixed, then I would probably eat here again. I think it would probably be alright," Hammond said. 

The earlier voluntary shutdown halted all production and sales, and a total recall was issued for Jeni's Ice Cream.

There is no timeline for when production may resume. 

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Announced today on Facebook, Jeni's is halting production of ice cream because of listeria found in the production kitchen.

"We have stopped making ice cream and are investigating where and how it may have re-entered the facility," said John Lowe, CEO of Jeni's, in a post on their website. "We have a theory and are testing that theory. We don’t yet have a timeline for the resumption of production."

Jeni's announced that all ice cream that has been made since the May 13 reopening has been tested, and is safe for consumption. 

"Since resuming production on May 13, we have been testing every batch of ice cream we have made and holding it until we learned that the testing did not detect any listeria," the announcement said. "So it is with complete confidence that we can say all of the ice cream that has been served in our shops since reopening on May 22 has been safe and is 100 percent listeria-free."

Jeni's closed earlier in the year due to a listeria problem in their ice cream. The voluntary shutdown halted all production and sales, and a total recall was issued for Jeni's Ice Cream. The Central-Ohio ice cream shop dumped nearly $2.5 million worth of ice cream, in an effort to eradicate the problem.

After listeria was originally found in the production kitchen, in April, FDA reports revealed many problems with Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream's current and former production facilities. These problems included unsanitary kitchen environments and problems with rodents.

"While we would most certainly prefer that Listeria never enter our facility, we do take solace in the fact that our protocols and testing have worked: we found the Listeria before it got into ice cream we served," Lowe said in the statement.

Stay with WOSU News for more on this story