A recently filed food poisoning lawsuit alleges that a Texas man suffered brain damage from listeria-related meningitis after eating Blue Bell ice cream, which was recalled in recent months due to contamination with the bacteria listeria monocytogenes.
The complaint was filed against Blue Bell Creameries earlier this week by 32 year old David Philip Shockley, who indicates that he worked as an administrator in a retirement community in Houston when he ate contaminated ice cream in October 2013 and fell ill.
Shockley alleges that he contracted a severe case of listeria meningitis with encephalitis from the ice cream, which resulted in respiratory failure, septic shock and brain damage. He is now unable to work and is cared for by his parents in Maryland.
The Blue Bell ice cream lawsuit indicates that he ate a variety of different products made by the company before falling ill, and that those same ice cream products were subsequently recalled for listeria contamination.
The case is the first of what may eventually be several listeria lawsuits against Blue Bell, which has been forced to shut down production plants amid discovery of problems linked to at least three deaths and multiple illnesses in recent years.
Last month, Blue Bell Creameries recalled all of its products from store shelves, and federal regulators indicate that the plant will remain shut down until it is sanitized and inspected..
FDA inspectors found the worst health violations at Blue Bell’s Oklahoma plant, where they recorded 17 positive tests for listeria on food processing equipment and other common areas within the plant. Some of these findings were recorded as far back as March 2013, with the most recent contaminated samples collected in February 2015.
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.