Never buy ice cream before you do, officials say – Best Life

Buying your favorite ice cream at the grocery store is one of life’s simplest yet greatest pleasures. Nearly 7 in 10 Americans say they like having ice cream in their freezer “all the time,” according to a recent survey by Oatly and OnePoll. With such a sweet treat, it’s hard to imagine anything could go wrong beyond the occasional brain freeze, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), outbreaks of harmful bacteria Listeria are now often linked to dairy products, leading investigators to trace recent ice cream outbreaks. Strict Listeria infections strike about 1,600 people in the United States each year and about 260 die from them. To avoid this, experts say there is one thing you should always do before buying ice cream. Read on to find out which step you should never skip when grocery shopping.

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Over the past few months, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC have been investigating an outbreak of Listeria infections. As of August 2, CDC data indicates that 25 people in 11 states have been infected in this outbreak, which has been going on since January 2021. One person has died from it. According to the FDA, officials have linked the Listeria infections from a single source: ice cream supplied by Big Olaf Creamery in Sarasota, Florida.

The Florida-based ice cream company recalled all flavors and lots of its branded ice cream in July due to its “potential to be contaminated” with Listeria monocytogenes. “Consumers, restaurants, and retailers should not eat, sell, or serve recalled Big Olaf ice cream products and should discard the product, regardless of the expiration or best-before date,” the FDA warned, noting that the investigation is still ongoing.

But the danger of this bacterium is not limited to a single brand.

Abdominal pain patient having medical checkup with doctor about stomach cancer disease, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic discomfort, indigestion, diarrhea, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
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The CDC says people can develop a serious infection after eating food contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes. The bacteria can “spread beyond the gut to other parts of the body,” according to the agency.

Symptoms of a Listeria The infection (or listeriosis) can be similar to those caused by other foodborne illnesses, including fever and diarrhea, but if the infection becomes severe, severe symptoms will usually begin one to four weeks after you have ate contaminated food. These symptoms include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance, seizures, fever, and muscle aches.

Pregnant people with Listeria infections, on the other hand, “usually present only with fever and other flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue and muscle aches,” the CDC warns, but their illness can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth , premature delivery, life-threatening neonatal infections .

“Listeriosis is usually a mild illness for pregnant women, but it causes serious illness in the fetus or newborn. Some people with Listeria infections, most commonly adults 65 and older and people with weakened immune systems develop serious infections of the bloodstream (causing sepsis) or the brain (causing meningitis or encephalitis),” says the CDC.Listeria infections can sometimes affect other parts of the body, including bones, joints, and sites in the chest and abdomen.”

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It’s clear that Listeria isn’t a problem, but what allows this bacteria to contaminate foods like ice cream? According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), harmful pathogens can grow in foods when left at certain temperatures. In fact, even a temperature as cold as 40 degrees Fahrenheit can allow bacteria to grow. rapidly, “doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes”, according to FSIS.

“That’s why it’s a problem for colder foods like ice cream and cheese,” Bill Marlera Washington state food safety attorney, told Time.

According Taste of home, ice cream usually spoils and causes food poisoning in one of two ways: it was made with bacteria-contaminated ingredients, or you eat the ice cream after it has melted, especially if it has been melted and refrozen. “Even after refreezing your melted ice cream, it will not be immune to certain bacteria that have been allowed to grow. For example, Listeria can not only survive, but also thrive and reproduce right in your freezer,” the magazine explains.

Woman buying bucket of strawberry ice cream from fridge in supermarket
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To avoid buying ice cream that has potentially allowed harmful bacteria to grow, there is one thing you need to make sure you do before you put it in your cart. “Check the temperature of the grocer’s freezer,” say experts from the Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence (CoE). According to the CoE, the temperature of a supermarket freezer where ice cream is stored should never exceed 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) says the optimum temperature for a supermarket freezer is 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower, and notes that even above 10 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous.

Of course, you might not always be able to check the actual temperature – and you wouldn’t know if it had been higher at any point before checking – so you can also inspect the ice cream for signs of temperatures of improper storage. “If the freezer is kept at an appropriate temperature, the ice cream will be completely frozen and hard to the touch,” says the CoE. “If the product is soft, it should be brought to the attention of the store manager.”

About Thomas B. Countryman

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