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Jeni’s closes shops again after finding more listeria

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Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams halted production and closed its shops on June 12 after finding more listeria. The company reopened on May 22 after halting production and recalling its ice cream in April. Credit: Alaina Bartel / Lantern Reporter

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, which resumed operations three weeks ago after a listeria outbreak, is closed after the bacteria was discovered once again.

Jeni’s CEO John Lowe said in a statement posted on the Jeni’s website the company is closing its scoop shops temporarily because it does not have enough ice cream to keep them stocked.

“After we eradicate the Listeria and have thoroughly tested the facility, we will restart making ice cream,” Lowe stated. “Sometime thereafter, we’ll announce a date when our shops will reopen.”

Lowe stated production has been halted and Jeni’s is “investigating where and how (the listeria) may have re-entered the facility.”

Jeni’s announced in April it would recall ice cream and close its shops after the Nebraska Department of Agriculture discovered a Listeria monocytogenes contamination in a randomly collected sample. Jeni’s reopened its shops on May 22 after removing walls, installing a conveyor belt and foot spraying stations with antibacterial foam in the company’s production kitchen.

Listeria infection, or listeriosis, is a life-threatening infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. People most at risk include pregnant women, newborns, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems.

Lowe stated that all ice cream that has been served in Jeni’s shops since the reopening has been “safe and 100 percent Listeria-free.”

“Since resuming production in our kitchen on May 13, 2015, 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,” Lowe stated.

Lowe stated he does not yet know when Jeni’s ice cream production will resume.

“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 the ice cream we served,” Lowe stated. “This finding and our ceasing of production enables us the opportunity to prevent contamination and continue to ensure the safety of our customers.”

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