Ice cream used to be a seasonal summer treat. These days we savor the chilly creamy delight year-round. But fans of Nestle’s Drumstick pre-made sundae cones should hold off on indulging in that particular treat for now. The company reports that toxic Listeria bacteria was found in the production facility where the cones are made, leading Nestle to recall some boxes of Drumsticks.
Listeria is a serious health threat, and Nestle is treating the matter seriously and proactively. While the bacteria were found on the production line, none has been identified in any ice cream cones that were tested. But the company wants to prevent any product contamination from happening since Listeria bacteria can survive freezing temperatures. Hence, the company is taking a mea culpa, forward-looking approach.
That doesn’t always happen in the food industry. Late last year the chain Mexican restaurant Chipotle had knowledge of levels of E. coli in some of its restaurants and took a far more defensive public posture, upsetting many consumers. Nestle’s approach, conversely, is designed to keep consumers safe and happy.
Listeriosis is the potentially scary foodborne illness that can develop from exposure to Listeria bacteria. Early symptoms to watch for are fever, gastrointestinal symptoms, and muscle aches. While people in good health may have no symptoms at all, Listeriosis can turn into life-threatening meningitis in children, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, and pregnant women. Of particular importance for pregnant women, the bacteria can be passed to the fetus through their bloodstream, causing miscarriage or stillbirth. Symptoms of Listeriosis during pregnancy can be relatively subtle, including fever, fatigue, and muscle aches.
For the recall, the larger packages of Drumsticks, including a 16-cone variety box and a 24-cone all-vanilla box are the ones to be on the lookout for. Nestle calls these packages “Club” boxes, and they are often sold at warehouse clubs like BJ’s, Costco, and Sam’s Club. Affected products will have “best before” dates in June, and you can find a list of production codes at the FDA’s website
Cover Image: fda.gov