Blue Bell Ice Cream Recall Expanded Amid Listeria Risk

Amid continuing concerns over the risk of listeria contamination, Blue Bell Creameries has further expanded their ice cream recalls, adding certain banana flavored products after government health officials found trances of bacteria in products processed at the company’s recently shut down manufacturing plant in Oklahoma.

The Blue Bell ice cream recall expansion was announced on April 7, indicating that certain Banana Pudding ice cream pints tested positive for listeria moncytogenes, which may pose a serious risk for consumers, especially young children, the elderly and those with a compromised immune system.

The FDA is currently investigating a listeria outbreak linked to Blue Bell ice cream served at several hospitals, which has already been linked to at least eight hospitalizations and three deaths from listeria food poisoning.

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According to the latest update provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Blue Bell ice cream recall expansion now includes Banana Pudding ice cream pints, Butter Crunch ice cream, Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, Cookies n’ Cream ice cream, Homemade Vanilla ice cream, Dutch Chocolate ice cream and Moo-llennium Crunch ice cream and various size cups of Mixed Berry, Rainbow and Orange sherbet. The recall now includes all products manufactured on that particular production line between February 12, 2015 and March 27, 2015 with date codes ending in O, P, Q, R, S, or T.

The recalled ice cream was distributed to retail stores outlets throughout states in the U.S. including certain food service accounts, hospitals, convenience stores, and supermarkets including Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Kroger grocery stores.

Following the initial March 15 ice cream recall, Blue Bell Creameries suspended operations of the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma manufacturing plant to conduct a complete examination and determine the root cause of the contamination. Since the plant has suspended operations, three additional hospitalizations have been recorded from individuals who consumed Blue Bell ice cream products prior to infection onset.

Although the potentially contaminated products were distributed to at least 23 states, only two states have experienced consumers with infections, four of which occurred at one Kansas hospital that served the ice cream.

The individuals who contracted the listeria infection consumed milkshakes made with a single-serving Blue Bell brand ice cream product called “Scoops” while they were already in the hospital for unrelated problems before developing listerosis.

The initial investigation by the CDC, was able to identify four different strains of listeria that could have been the cause of hospitalizations in recent years. The CDC warned consumers that the particular strains of listeria found in the ice cream bars were very harmful, and likely significant contributors to the deaths of three consumers.

Listerosis is a foodborne illness that can cause serious health consequences and can be fatal, especially forchildren, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. The infection poses a significant threat to pregnant women, who may be at an increased risk for miscarriages or still-births.

Symptoms of listeria infection typically include nausea, muscle ache, diarrhea, fever, and fatigue. Some cases of listeria may become more life threatening when the infection moves through the bloodstream into the nervous system resulting in sometimes fatal infections.

The CDC and FDA are recommending that consumers not eat or drink any Blue Bell Creameries ice cream or milkshake products manufactured at the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma plant. If consumers are not able to identify whether the product is recalled they should contact Blue Bell Creameries at 979-836-7977.


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