Thank you for your patience during the past week as we worked to identify and eliminate the source of Listeria in our production kitchen.
As we’ve previously stated, we found Listeria in our production kitchen. We can now say that we believe we located the smoking gun.Our swab testing found Listeria on the spout of one of our production machines. It is a machine we use to fill a portion of our pints. The machine was not used to fill buckets that we scoop from in our shops, but we are nonetheless continuing with our plan to dispose of all of those buckets.We’ll never be 100% certain how Listeria got onto the machine. Our job now is to rework our production kitchen into a facility that provides the best defenses against any contamination, and we have enlisted some of the world’s top food safety experts to help in that effort.So far the conservative estimate of new investment in the transformation of our kitchen is $200,000, but we expect that number to increase. We will spend whatever it takes.The new layout is designed to further minimize the entry of pathogens into the production environment, streamlining the movement of ingredients and employees. We are removing walls and adding cooler space, establishing color-coded hygienic zones to limit the potential for cross contamination, installing systems to spray antibacterial foam across footpaths, and sanitary crystals will be placed around drain pipes.Among other significant changes, all fresh fruits and vegetables will now be processed at a separate location.To help determine the ongoing effectiveness of these controls, we are implementing an aggressive environmental testing and sampling program—including a regular swab-testing regime to ensure the complete elimination of Listeria, once and for all.Our entire kitchen team is at our headquarters this week receiving training on improved standard operating and sanitation procedures that go above and beyond the safety requirements of the FDA and Ohio Department of Agriculture.While our primary focus will be on a system for the prevention of contamination, we’ll also be implementing a test-and-hold program, in which all batches of finished product will be tested for bacteria before shipping.The plans we have for reworking our kitchen, along with improved standard operating procedures that go above and beyond federal and state guidelines, will enable us to make the quality of ice creams we are known for, in the safest possible way. We are hopeful that we will be able to resume ice cream production in the very near future.Thank you again to the community of Jeni’s supporters throughout the country and here in Ohio, including Val Jorgensen of Jorgensen Farms, who has offered full-time work to our displaced employees while the kitchen and shops are closed. It means the world to us
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