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Jeni’s to outsource some production after listeria scares

Cult-favorite Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is shifting a step in the production of its ice cream to a third-party facility after listeria was traced twice to the chain’s own kitchen.

The in-house facility will still be used, but as a prep station where ingredients will be finalized for blending and freezing.

Any fresh produce will undergo initial preparation at another facility. “We’ll bring produce into our kitchen after it has been cleaned, peeled, shucked or hulled,” Jeni’s founder Jeni Bauer said in a posting on the company’s website yesterday.

The actual freezing will take place at Smith’s, the diary that supplies Jeni’s. 

Bauer said Jeni’s in-house kitchen had not tested positive for listeria in two months. Still, she says, shifting the key step in production to Smith’s will result in a fresher product because there’s no transport time for the dairy products that go into Jeni’s ice cream. The milk and cream will have been taken from cows no more than 48 hours earlier, she wrote.

She also said that Smith’s had better production equipment than what Jeni’s had been using in its prep kitchen.

With the change in production, customers should start seeing pints of Jeni’s brand-name product in its dipping shops by the fall holidays, Bauer concluded.

Jeni’s halted ice cream production after a trace of listeria was found in a single pint of ice cream headed for supermarkets. Without any product to sell, the company shut down its string of dipping shops.

Later, a swab of the kitchen floor detected listeria again. None was found in the ice cream itself, Bauer said, adding that no one got sick from the company’s signature product.

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