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FDA Warning Shows Jeni's Ice Cream Still Struggling With Listeria

Jeni's Ice Cream
Bob Hall

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams has been issued a warning by the FDA for continued problems with listeria at its manufacturing plant.

In a letter dated August 9, the FDA pointed out that during inspections in January and February there were traces of listeria found. There were 75 samples taken by the FDA during the inspection, and two of them tested positive for listeria.

Inspectors also found two "significant" violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice at the facility on Michigan Avenue. One of the violations was for failing to operate fans and other air-blowing equipment to minimize the potential for contamination. 

Jeni's has released a blog post on their website Wednesday afternoon.

"Listeria is so widespread in the natural world, it will inevitably find its way into otherwise clean environments," Jeni's said. "To control Listeria, the best food production companies are constantly searching for it through environmental swabbing and then eradicating it—before it has the chance to spread to any food contact surfaces. That is how a good Listeria control program works; that is how ours is working."

Jeni's went on to say that they test every batch of ice cream they make.

"[We] test every batch of every product we prepare in our facility and hold the product until the tests confirm that there is no Listeria present—and only then do we release it," Jeni's said. "We instituted this test-and-hold procedure when we reopened a year ago and we have not had a single batch test positive for Listeria."

Last year Jeni's had major issues with Listeria, problems that resulted in a full recall of product, a temporary shutdown of its stores, and the disposal of $2.5 million worth of ice cream.

A call to Jeni's Wednesday afternoon was not immediately returned.