2 sickened: Fancy food ain’t safe food, Listeria in Wash. ice creamery edition

A Snohomish gourmet ice-cream producer linked to two cases of Listeria poisoning failed a health inspection in October, but state officials didn’t shut it down until the infections came to light.

Snoqualmie.ice.creamJoNel Aleccia of the Seattle Times reports the problems detected during the Oct. 15 inspection weren’t deemed “critical,” so the firm continued operations, said Kirk Robinson, assistant director for food safety and consumer services with the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA).

“When we do an inspection, 90 or above would be a passing inspection,” Robinson said, noting that Snoqualmie scored 87 in October.

Among the problems noted in October: deteriorating floors; excessive dust and “dried, flaking residue” on parts of the pasteurizer vat; “black residue” on metal carts; mold on a bucket used to collect water; standing water in a walk-in cooler; flies; and male workers without facial-hair protection.

The plant, which typically sends 1,000 gallons a day of ice cream, sorbet and gelato to Whole Foods, Fred Meyer, Molly Moon, Seattle’s Space Needle and others, was shut down last week, after the Listeria illnesses were confirmed in two King County men.