After a series of recalls, an investigation into safety issues at US ice cream makers forced one manufacturer to cease operations and resulted in three voluntary recalls, the US Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
The FDA said that it inspected and obtained samples from 89 ice cream production facilities in 32 states in 2016 and 2017, detecting listeria monocytogenes, which can cause listeriosis, at 19 facilities and one instance of salmonella.
The investigation was launched in August 2016 after 16 recalls of ice cream products in the prior three-year period and an outbreak of listeriosis linked to an ice cream maker in 2015 that involved three deaths.
"Although many of these facilities were adhering to good manufacturing practices, we did find that some were in violation of the law," said Frank Yiannas, FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response.
"These results serve as an important reminder to all food facilities distributing products in the US of the importance of complying with rules set forth to mitigate safety issues."
The FDA said the goal was to determine the prevalence of certain types of harmful bacteria and whether ice cream manufacturers were properly implementing food safety programs.
As a result of the investigation, the FDA said, it suspended the food facility registration of Florida-based Working Cow Homemade in 2018, although the suspension was lifted after the firm stopped making ice cream and switched to distributing products made by other ice cream makers. The company also made two voluntary recalls of its ice cream because of potential contamination with listeria monocytogenes, the FDA said.
Pennsylvania-based Nelson's Creamery recalled one one of its products because of an undeclared amount of soy lecithin, a food additive, the FDA added.