It’s often the ones we love who hurt us the most — in this case, the offender being ice cream.
The FDA has released a new report detailing that harmful pathogens were found at 21 percent of ice cream production facilities inspected in a recent, yearlong test, initiated following the national, deadly listeria outbreak in 2015.
The agency announced on Wednesday that researchers discovered listeria monocytogenes in 19 out of 89 ice cream plants in 32 states, inspected between September 2016 and August 2017. As noted by Politico, the plants inspected account for 16 percent of all American ice cream manufacturers.
Only one of the plants tested had salmonella, as per the findings.
The FDA launched the investigation in August 2016, as 16 ice cream products had been recalled since 2013 due to dangerous pathogens, coupled with a deadly listeriosis outbreak – connected to Blue Bell ice cream – that involved three fatalities and sent 10 others to the hospital, Fox 29 and Politico report.
When it came time to investigate, FDA officials wanted to inspect “larger establishments whose product would be expected to reach greater numbers of consumers.”
“Although many of these facilities were adhering to good manufacturing practices, we did find that some were in violation of the law,” Frank Yiannas, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response, said, as per Fox 29.
“These results serve as an important reminder to all food facilities distributing products in the U.S. of the importance of complying with rules set forth to mitigate safety issues,” he added.
In the Wednesday report, the FDA clarified that the investigation was not conducted in correlation with rules established by the Food Safety Modernization Act.
However, officials acknowledged that their most recent findings “underscore the need” for the development and implementation of stricter food safety plans for related facilities.
“Listeria monocytogenes and salmonella are examples of hazards, if identified in a food-safety plan, that a company would be required to minimize with preventive controls and verify that their controls are working,” the researchers concluded.