On April 20, 2015, Blue Bell Creameries of Brenham, Texas, voluntarily recalled all of its products currently on the market because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
Samples taken by the firm showed the presence Listeria monocytogenes in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream half gallons produced on March 17 and March 27, 2015. Samples taken by the FDA, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control, and the Texas Department of State Health Services have also shown the presence of Listeria monocytogenes. The firm’s press release states that “Blue Bell has now had several positive tests for Listeria in different places and plants.”
This recall includes ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks made at all Blue Bell facilities. Blue Bell has facilities in Brenham, in Broken Arrow, Okla., and in Sylacauga, Ala., and FDA currently has open investigations at facilities in each of these locations.
For more detailed information about the listeria outbreak related to Blue Bell ice cream, visit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website.
According to Blue Bell, the products being recalled are distributed to retail outlets, including food service accounts, convenience stores and supermarkets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming and international locations.
Consumers should not eat any of the recalled the products. If these ice cream products are in your freezer, they should be thrown away or returned, even if some of them have been eaten without anyone becoming ill.
Blue Bell urges consumers who have purchased these items to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. For more information consumers with questions may call 1-866-608-3940 Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. CST or go to bluebell.com.
Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries issued a voluntary recall for all of its products late Monday after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for potentially deadly Listeria bacteria.
Blue Bell’s chief executive said in a statement that he “cannot say with certainty” how the bacteria was introduced to the manufacturing line.
“We’re committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe,” Paul Kruse said.
The latest recall includes ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks distributed in 23 states and international locations because other products “have the potential to be contaminated,” according to the statement.
The first recall in the family-owned creamery’s 108-year history was issued last month after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked ice cream contaminated with listeriosis to three deaths at a Kansas hospital. Five others in Kansas and Texas were sickened with the disease, which can cause fever, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
The foodborne illness was tracked to a production line in Brenham, Texas, and later to a second line in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The most recently contaminated samples were discovered through a testing program the company initiated after its first recall, according to the statement.
The recall extends to retail outlets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming and international locations.
A manufacturing facility in Oklahoma where operations were suspended earlier this month for sanitizing will remain closed as Blue Bell continues to investigate the source of the bacteria, the statement said.
Blue Bell is also implementing a process to test all of its products before releasing them to the market, with plans to resume limited distribution soon.
The company said it is also expanding its cleaning and sanitization system, beefing up its employee training, expanding its swabbing system by 800 percent to include more surfaces and is sending daily samples to a microbiology laboratory for testing.
Listeria primarily affects pregnant women and their newborns, older adults and people with immune systems weakened by cancer, cancer treatments, or other serious conditions.