Listeria Ice Cream Contamination Results in Expanded Blue Bell Recall

Following recent recalls issued amid reports of listeria poisoning linked to certain ice cream products, Blue Bell Creameries has announced that all products will be removed from store shelves nationwide.

The Blue Bell ice cream recall expansion was announced by the FDA on Monday, after listeria was found in several different plants where it was not previously suspected.

As of April 21, at least 10 people in four different states have been diagnosed with listeria food poisoning after eating Blue Bell products, including one in Arizona, five in Kansas, one in Oklahoma and three in Texas.

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The onset dates of the illnesses occurred between January 2010 and January 2015. The Arizona and Oklahoma cases were confirmed in just the last few days. At least three deaths have been linked to listeria ice cream contamination.

The recalled ice cream was distributed to retail stores outlets throughout 23 states in the U.S., such as convenience stores, and supermarkets including Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Kroger grocery stores. Some of the illnesses have also been linked to ice cream distributed through food service accounts, such as hospitals.

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.

Testing last month found listeria in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream half gallons made as recently as March 17 and March 27 of this year, according to an FDA investigation update. The recall now includes all ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet , and frozen snacks made by Blue Bell.

“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, the president and CEO of Blue Bell, said in the recall announcement. “We are heartbroken about this situation and apologize to all of our loyal Blue Bell fans and customers.”

Kruse said the company intends to fix the problem. The company is conducting a process called “test and hold” for all products, meaning they are all to be tested after they are made and only released once they have been shown to be safe.

In addition, the company says it is expanding its testing, cleaning and sanitizing operations, sending daily samples to a microbiology lab for testing, and providing employees with additional training.

Company officials say they hope to soon resume distribution once its products are confirmed as safe.

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.

Blue Bell and the FDA recommend that any consumers who have purchased the company’s products return them to the place of purchase for a fill refund. Customers with questions can call 1-868608-3940 or go to


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