Florida ice cream maker Big Olaf finally recalled its frozen treat after it was linked to a listeria outbreak that killed one person and sickened nearly two dozen others, the Florida Department of Health said.

The family-owned business had initially resisted demands to recall its product, claiming that there was no definitive evidence that its ice cream had caused 22 hospitalizations and the death of an elderly woman.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning on its website linking the company to a listeria outbreak and advising consumers to throw out the ice cream.

“CDC is concerned that Big Olaf Creamery ice cream could still be in people’s home or available for sale in stores,” the agency said on its website.

After the CDC warning, the Sarasota, Fla.-based company agreed to halt production and recall the ice cream, which is only sold in Florida and at 15 specialty parlors, as well as in state supermarkets. 

The Big Olaf logo.
The ice cream is made and sold in Florida by “local Amish craftsmen,” according to the company’s website.
Big Olaf Creamery

Big Olaf has not commented since the recall.

Two lawsuits have been filed against the company, including by the family of Illinois resident Mary Billman, 79, who traveled to Florida and died from listeria, according to legal documents.

Another woman who is suing Big Olaf claims that she miscarried due to listeria after eating the ice cream. 

Listeria causes flu-like symptoms, including fever, nausea and diarrhea.

Before agreeing to the recall, Big Olaf has issued a statement, saying: “For now it is only speculation as it is an ongoing investigation, our brand has not been confirmed to be linked to these cases, I am not sure why only Big Olaf is being mentioned and targeted.”

Consumers reacted with disgust, accusing the company of not doing enough to protect the public.

“Your message is not helping,” wrote a user named Mack Willis on the company’s Facebook page. “Words like ‘targeted’ comes across like your minimizing, shifting responsibility or blaming others.”

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