CDC links Sarasota ice cream maker to deadly listeria outbreak

Amid investigation into a multi-state listeria outbreak, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials are warning retailers that sell ice cream from Big Olaf Creamery in Sarasota not to serve the products to customers until new order.

CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) health officials suspected there was a Florida connection between the 23 people who fell ill with listeria in the past week.

Now it appears their suspicions are confirmed after the Florida Department of Health announced that Big Olaf began voluntarily telling its retail customers to withdraw its products on Saturday.

Big Olaf Creamery lists six brick-and-mortar locations in Sarasota County on its website, along with at least nine other retailers across the state, including Sprinkles Ice Cream Shop in St. Pete Beach, Twistee Treat on Pine Island Road in North Fort Myers, Super Scoops in Treasure Island and Beverly’s Ice Cream in Clearwater Beach.

FOX 13 contacted one of Big Olaf’s stores about the listeria outbreak, however, employees were unaware of the possible link to Big Olaf products and the stores were operating as usual.

An Amish woman serving ice cream at Big Olaf Creamery. (Photo by: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the CDC’s website says public health officials are continuing to ask people about the foods they ate in the month before they became ill.

“Of the 17 people interviewed, 14 (82%) said they had eaten ice cream. Of the 13 people who recalled details about the type of ice cream they ate, six said they had eaten ice cream. Big Olaf Creamery branded ice cream or eating ice cream from places that may have been provided by Big Olaf Creamery,” the website reads.

AFTER: CDC considers Florida a potential source of listeria outbreak

The CDC has considered Florida as the potential source of the virus which has infected dozens of people in 10 states.

One person from Illinois died and another pregnant woman suffered a miscarriage.

PREVIOUS: CDC says new listeria outbreak linked to 23 illnesses and 1 death

The CDC said two of 23 patients in 10 states had been hospitalized, with an elderly person dying and another Massachusetts woman miscarrying.

Almost all of the patients live or have traveled to Florida.

Virginia C. Taylor