An ice cream company based in Brooklyn has issued a recall of all flavors of its soft serve ice cream and sorbet brand after two people who ate its vanilla chocolate flavor fell sick and were sent to the hospital, according to the company and health officials. The illnesses were possibly linked to listeria, a type of bacteria that can cause serious sickness in people 65 or older and miscarriages and premature births in pregnant women, health officials said.
The company, Real Kosher Ice Cream, said in a statement on Wednesday that it would immediately recall all six flavors of its Soft Serve on the Go Cups, packaged retail versions of soft serve ice cream and sorbet. Real Kosher notified all retailers that stock the brand, asking them to remove the products from shelves and freezers and dispose of them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert on Thursday about a listeria outbreak that might be linked to Soft Serve on the Go Cups.
In its own statement updated Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration said that an investigation into the outbreak was “ongoing.” The recall, the agency said, affects 19 states and the District of Columbia where the products are distributed, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Soft Serve on the Go Cups are also distributed in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and Britain.
Ari Klein, one of the owners of Real Kosher Ice Cream, said the company was cooperating with health officials to look into the cause of the illnesses.
“We’re dealing with them on a daily basis,” Mr. Klein said, adding that the company had voluntarily recalled the entire line “even though it was only on one flavor.”
“We are a family-owned business, not a multibillion-dollar corporation,” Mr. Klein added. “And we felt this is the right thing to do.”
Real Kosher said its other products, which include frozen pizzas and frozen fruit, were manufactured at a different facility and were not affected by the recall.
In a post on its official Instagram page on Thursday, the C.D.C. warned the public not to eat Soft Serve on the Go Cups, which it said had been served in at least one long-term care home.
The recall came after two customers, one in Pennsylvania and another in New York, were hospitalized between May and June after eating Soft Serve on the Go vanilla chocolate ice cream, health officials said. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture tested samples of ice cream from the freezer of one of the sick people and found traces of a strain of listeria.
Officials are still trying to determine whether that strain is the same strain of listeria that caused the current outbreak, the F.D.A. said. So far, no deaths have been reported.
Listeria outbreaks in the United States are not a new phenomenon. In June, health officials investigated a multistate outbreak tied to leafy greens. Previous listeria outbreaks have most likely been caused by contaminated deli meat and cheeses and other retail ice cream brands, according to the C.D.C.
Illness from listeria can occur within a few hours, or sometimes two to three days, after the consumption of contaminated food, health officials said. More severe symptoms, such as confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, can take three days to three months to develop.
Soft Serve on the Go products are sold in clear plastic eight-ounce cups and come in six flavors, including vanilla chocolate, caramel and peanut butter ice cream, as well as strawberry mango sorbet.
Mr. Klein said future versions of the products would be clearly marked with a label informing customers that they’re safe to eat, once the company received guidance from health officials.
“They’ve been in our facilities many times, they’ve been in our offices, it’s all guided,” he said, referring to the officials.
In addition to Soft Serve on the Go, Real Kosher has seven other brands, including Klein’s, its signature ice cream brand, and Chevra, a line of frozen pizzas, according to its website.