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Jeni’s reopening after Listeria scare

Decatur Metro ATL

Jeni’s reopening after Listeria scare

The store front of Jeni's in the Decatur Square. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
The store front of Jeni's in the Decatur Square. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The store front of Jeni’s in the Decatur Square. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams will be reopening all of its Atlanta stores, including the one in Decatur, on May 22 at 7 pm.

The reopening comes nearly one month after Jeni’s closed its doors due to Listeria contamination. Today several news outlets also published the findings contained in Federal Drug Administration’s report on Jeni’s production kitchen.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, the FDA found that the company had “no environmental testing program.” It also noted that employees working the night shift weren’t keeping things clean according to sanitation protocols. Employees used unsanitary towels to wipe surfaces. And, “No one was aware the floor needed to be sanitized,” the Dispatch reports. To read the full story, click here.

Here’s a copy of the report, obtained from the FDA website.

FDA Jeni’s

Jeni’s has been aggressively staying ahead of the controversy, publishing numerous, lengthy press releases on its efforts to clean up its facilities.

Jeni’s estimates its recalls and cleanup due to the Listeria outbreak cost the company $2.5 million. In the interim, Jeni’s made some provisions to provide partial pay to its employees who were idle while the stores were closed.

The company provided lengthy press releases throughout the ordeal, including a release documenting where the company found the source of the deadly bacteria.

Listeria can cause infections in children and adults. It’s also a threat to people with weak immune systems. It has been known to cause stillbirths and miscarriages. A Listeria-outbreak in Blue Bell Ice Cream products killed three people, according to the CDC.

The company referenced the recently-released FDA report in a press release published on May 21.

“By May 11, 2015, we had fixed every issue identified in the report,” the press release said. “This 2015 inspection came after the finding of Listeria, and the FDA, like us, are looking with a more critical eye at the way we operated.”

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The company added, “We dove in and made darn sure we fixed all of their concerns, and we brought in outside experts to help us find other areas of improvement to create a world class, safe environment for making our ice creams. Beyond that, we have instituted test and hold procedures to ensure we are only providing safe ice cream.”

According to the press release, the company had uneventful inspections in 2013 and 2014.

“The 2014 FDA inspection revealed zero issues of concern. The 2013 FDA inspection report revealed only a concern that there was build up of ice under a fan in our large freezer,” the press release says. “In 2008, the FDA issued three findings of our former production kitchen. It included that there were rodent droppings behind an oven and in a garage where some sealed ingredients were stored. Those findings were addressed before that report was ever issued.

“The bottom line is this: our kitchen had been inspected previously with no findings. We have already fixed everything the FDA identified, and we’ve gone beyond the FDA’s recommendations. The ice cream we are producing for our opening comes from an overhauled kitchen, a significantly more trained team working from new ground rules that enable a safer environment (such as not processing fresh fruit in the production kitchen, and not allowing work in our company garden prior to changing into production clothes).”