Jeni’s Ice Creams discovers source of Listeria

Posted by Dena Mellick May 6, 2015
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 announced it has found the source of the Listeria contamination that led to the disposal of 265 tons of ice cream.

In a May 6 press release, CEO John Lowe said testing found Listeria on the spout of one of the machines.

“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,” said Lowe.

Lowe went on to say the company will never be 100 percent certain how Listeria got on the machine in the production kitchen. However, he said the company is reworking its kitchen and is enlisting some of the world’s top food safety experts to help prevent contamination from happening again.

Lowe said the cost of the transforming the production kitchen will be at least $200,000, but said, “we will spend whatever it takes.” That’s on top of the estimated cost of the recall, which Lowe previously said would be more than $2.5 million.

The production kitchen changes include, “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.”

There will also be a regular swab-testing to make sure the Listeria is completely gone.

Last month, the company announced the temporary closure of all of its Jeni’s scoop shops, including locations in the Atlanta area.

In an update on the situation, Lowe said in a press release last month, “no one should be eating any of Jeni’s frozen products.”

To read the full press release on the production kitchen improvements, click here.


About Dena Mellick

Dena Mellick is the Associate Editor of

View all posts by Dena Mellick

  • Keith F

    My least favorite word of the last decade has become “transparency,” because it’s almost always a lie covering up the true opaqueness of what’s really going on. As I’ve watched Jeni’s handling of their listeria problems, I believe they have truly shown what transparency means. From my angle, they jumped on this thing quickly, have provided details when they have them, have copped to what they don’t know, and have pledged to get it right. I don’t usually believe those pledges made by other companies and politicians. I am believing Jeni’s pledge and I can’t wait until they open their doors again.

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