Earlier today, in a talk about Listeria and produce, my friend Sophia Kathariou told folks at the NC Food Safety and Defense Task Force annual meeting that processing or packing facilities, not production, looks s to be a common link in outbreaks. Processing and packing lines are full of hard to reach places where Listeria can establish a niche.
Like a nozzle or hose on an ice cream pint filler.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, that’s where Jeni’s believes their Listeria issue arose.The listeria found at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams’ plant was on the spout of one of its pint-filling machines.
The company plans to spend at least $200,000 to rework its manufacturing line at its Michigan Avenue plant to ensure listeria never visits again, according to a press release.
“We will spend whatever it takes,” said CEO John Lowe, in a statement today.
Jeni’s tested other pints and its production kitchen. Listeria was found in at least one other flavor and at the plant. The machine on which the listeria was found is used only to fill pints, not the large bins, known as buckets, used at scoop shops.
The shops will remain closed, though, while Jeni’s works through its plant revisions.
The company has estimated that in all, it will destroy about 535,000 pounds of product. The recall will cost more than $2.5 million, Lowe said.
The biggest change at the production kitchen announced today is that fresh produce and vegetables, a hallmark of Jeni’s flavors, will be processed at a separate location. Jeni’s did not say where.
The company’s entire production staff is training this week on new safety procedures. The company plans to go above state and federal requirements for food safety, Lowe said. Jeni’s still doesn’t know when it will reopen.