California ice cream manufacturer Dr. Bob’s has reportedly closed down operations after federal inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes in the production facility and finished product, spurring secondary recalls of five brands of high-dollar ice cream shipped across the country.
Repeated attempts to reach the company and its owner, Robert Small, have been unsuccessful since the operation was named in a Nov. 2 recall by AC Creamery of Anaheim, CA. Listed phone numbers for Dr. Bob’s have been disconnected.
As of Thursday, the Dr. Bob’s website and Facebook page were no longer accessible.
The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reported Thursday evening that Small told reporter Neil Nisperos that he had closed his operation three weeks ago because of “business complications,” declining to provide additional details.
“We made the decision on our own to close, and we’re hoping under new ownership it will open again,” Small said according to the newspaper report.
The Dr. Bob’s operation, initially in Upland and more recently based in Pomona at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds, produced its own branded ice creams, selling them at retailers and direct to consumers via the web.
When the Dr. Bob’s website was still active, a special of six 1-pint containers was offered for $115 to California residents and $150 to ice cream lovers in other states. A retired college professor who was dean of the hospitality management program at Cal Poly in Pomona, Small founded Dr. Bob’s in 1999.
Although Dr. Bob’s has not posted a recall with the Food and Drug Administration, four of the company’s corporate customers have posted recalls, citing FDA inspections that discovered listeria in the Dr. Bob’s facility and finished ice cream of another brand that is yet to be revealed.
FDA officials cited “confidential corporate information” restrictions and referred Food Safety News to Dr. Bob’s for questions about the contract manufacturer’s recall of all ice cream products produced at its facility, as described in the other company’s recall notices.
“The recall is the result of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finding samples positive for Listeria monocytogenes in the facility of the contract manufacturer, Dr. Bob’s of Upland LLC, and in finished product of an unrelated company’s brand that was manufactured at the Dr. Bob’s facility, leading the contract manufacturer to recall all ice cream products produced this year at its facility,” according to the recall notices from four different ice cream companies.
The ice cream recalls posted to date with the FDA in relation to the Dr. Bob’s inspection are:
Nov. 2 AC Creamery of Anaheim one flavor — Manila Sky Purple Yum;
Nov. 4 McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams of Santa Barbara seven flavors — mint chip, peppermint stick, salted caramel chip, sweet cream, Turkish coffee, vanilla bean and Dutchman’s chocolate;
Nov. 9 ISB Food Group of Los Angeles two flavors of Nancy’s Fancy brand — butterscotch Budino gelato and peanut butter with crunchy peanuts gelato;
Nov. 9 ISB Food Group two flavors of L.A. Creamery brand — honeycomb ice cream and salted caramel; and
Nov. 10 Agave Dream of Palos Verdes Peninsula five flavors — chocolate, lavender, vanilla, chocolate chip and cappuccino.
Listeria monocytogenes is a microscopic organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
Symptoms of Listeria infection can take up to 70 days after exposure to develop. Anyone who has eaten any of the recalled ice cream and developed symptoms should seek medical attention and inform their doctor of the possible exposure to Listeria monocytogenes.
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