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Listeria found in Velvet Ice Cream facility

Mike Thomas

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Per a report from NBC4i.com, an FDA investigation of Velvet Ice Cream’s manufacturing facility in Utica—just 50 minutes from Columbus—has uncovered serious violations, including the presence of listeria at the site. 

“During the 2019 inspection, nine environmental swabs collected by FDA were positive for L. monocytogenes [listeria],” reads a warning letter issued by FDA officials.

“Swabs collected during a 2018 inspection also revealed the presence of L. monocytogenes in nine swabs within the facility,” the letter continues. “In addition, swabs collected during our 2017 inspection revealed L. monocytogenes in three swabs within the facility.”

Listeria monocytogenes is a disease-causing bacteria that can be found in moist environments. When people eat food tainted with L. monocytogenes, they may develop symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which can last from days to several weeks

The FDA will require Velvet Ice Cream to establish a new food safety plan to remedy the concerns highlighted in the report.

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Following the FDA’s statement, Velvet Ice Cream officials released the following statement, which was published by NBC4i:

“Producing ice cream that is safe and of the highest quality has been the priority for Velvet Ice Cream and for our family for four generations. Our production facility in Utica maintains the highest standards for food safety, and our team of employees shares our commitment to assuring the safety of our ice cream products.

We understand concern about the recent letter issued by FDA, and we want to assure our valued customers that no ice cream products are affected. The ice cream we produce is regularly tested and confirmed to be free from Listeria and other foodborne bacteria. No Velvet ice cream product has ever tested positive.

It is important to know that no recall is taking place, and that our teams took swift action to address this issue. Our corrective measures included a comprehensive cleaning and sanitation of our plant, retraining of our employees in proper food safety procedures, hiring an independent food safety expert, and investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in new construction and equipment upgrades.

The trust of our ice cream lovers is of the utmost importance to our family, and we will do all that is needed to produce our ice cream under the highest standards for food safety excellence.”

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New construction at I-70 split means more traffic for now

614now

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Changes coming to a busy stretch of highway near Children’s Hospital could lead to serious-short term traffic headaches.

According to a report from 10TV, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has announced two changes to I-70 downtown which are set to begin this August.

First, traffic moving in both directions of I-70 will be shifted to the westbound bridge that carries traffic from the east side, past downtown, for one year. The bridge will host one westbound lane, as it does right now, along with the two eastbound lanes of I-70.

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In the next phase, Parsons Avenue will close between East Main Street and Mooberry Street for 60 days to demolish the existing roads, eventually re-building I-70 east over Parsons Avenue. Drivers should use Grant Avenue instead.

ODOT officials say that bringing I-70 to the top layer will eliminate the need for lane changes that lead to congestion and can cause accidents.

These changes mark the first of many planned projects for roadways in this area.

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Ohio legislation could bring marijuana possession fines down to $10

Mike Thomas

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It’s not easy being green, but if Columbus City Council has its way, it might get a lot easier to hold some green.

On Monday, July 22, the council will vote on legislation that would reduce penalties for marijuana possession in the city.

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If the measure is passed, those caught with up to 100 grams of cannabis would face just a $10 fine, with amounts between 100 and 200 grams earning a $25 penalty.

The council’s proposed measure would also contradict penalties enforced at the state level, meaning possession of up to 200 grams would no longer carry the threat of jail time.

A public hearing is planned this Thursday before the possibility of this new legislation getting the green light next week.


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Extreme, dangerous heat could be coming to central Ohio this week

Mike Thomas

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Freeze some ice packs, buy a spare fan, and get that rickety old AC unit serviced now—serious heat is on its way to the region later this week.

If forecasts from meteorologist Ross Ellet of 13 ABC in Toledo are accurate, central Ohio could be in for a scorching 111-degree day sometime between Thursday and Saturday. Note that this figure reflects the heat index, or the temperature it “feels like.”

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While our own NBC4’s forecast shows a slightly more conservative estimate, the projected heat index for Friday is still in the triple-digits at 107 degrees.

Extreme heat can be dangerous and even life-threatening, especially for the elderly and the very young. Be sure to check on vulnerable neighbors who may be without air conditioning during this summer heat wave, and keep your pets indoors and well-hydrated.

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