Blue Bell recalls all products due to Listeria testings


Madeline Williams, Reporter

Blue Bell Ice Cream recalled their three oz. institutional/ food service ice cream cups- chocolate, strawberry and vanilla because of a possible health risk. They have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria Monocytogenes, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections to young children, elderly people and anybody with weak immune systems. Now Blue Bell Creamers has voluntary expanded the recall to all of their products because of this risk, according to Blue Bell press releases. This is due to findings by Blue Bell of positive tests for Listeria in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream produced during March 17 to 27.

“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,” said Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and products. “We are heartbroken about this situation and apologize to all of our loyal Blue Bell fans and customers. Our entire history has been about making the very best and highest quality ice cream and we intend to fix this problem.”

Blue Bell Ice Cream contaminated with listeria has been linked to three deaths at a Kansas hospital this year. Listeria is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning amongst Americans. The recall locations in Brenham, TX and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma are now being recalled in 23 more states. Wal-Mart has joined the list of major retailers who are removing all Blue Bell products from their stores.

“Although Monocytogenes was recognized as an animal pathogen over 80 years ago, the first outbreak confirming an indirect transmission from animals to humans was reported only in 1983, in Canada’s maritime provinces. In that outbreak, cabbages stored in the cold over the winter were contaminated with Listeria through exposure to infected sheep manure. A subsequent outbreak in California in 1985 confirmed the role of food in disseminating listeriosis. Since then Listeria has been implicated in many outbreaks of food-borne illness, most commonly from exposure to contaminated dairy products and prepared meat products, including turkey and deli meat, pate, hotdogs, seafood and fish,” according to The Marler Clark Network, a law firm dedicated to representing victims of food poisoning.

Listeria is a gram- positive rod-shaped bacterium that can grow under either anaerobic or aerobic conditions. There are six different species of listeria, but Listeria Monocytogenes is the only one that causes diseases in humans. This bacterium multiplies best at 86-98.6 degrees but can also multiply even faster than other bacteria at refrigerator temperatures.

Listeria usually results in a fever, muscle aches and gastrointestinal symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Listeriosis can prompt dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea and be especially harmful to people with underlying health conditions. The bacterium can also get into the blood stream,” said Dr. William Schaffner.

On April 9, 2015, tests confirmed that three people in Texas have the same strain of listeria as the five people in Kansas. They all went to the hospital for different medical reasons and came in contact with the serious and fatal disease.

Blue Bell Creameries have recalled products from its Oklahoma plant, which voluntarily shut down. The recall includes 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, and Wyoming, according to Blue Bell.

There are now other products not related to Blue Bell that are now being recalled because of possible contamination of Listeria. The Sabra Dipping Company has recalled 30,000 cases of its classic flavor Hummus. It learned of the contamination after Michigan health authorities inspected a sample of the hummus at a retail location. There is also a spinach recall from Amy’s Kitchen and three other companies, whom voluntarily recalled organic and conventional spinach products last month.

Twin City foods issued a separate recall, because the spinach was sold under the Wegmans brand name, according to ABC13.