January 18, 2021

After Listeria Outbreak, Publix, Walmart Pull Blue Bell Ice Cream From Stores

Publix and Walmart have pulled Blue Bell ice cream products from their stores after some of them were linked to a Listeria outbreak that sickened five people at a Wichita hospital, killing three of them.

Blue-Bell-Listeria-Publix-WalmartFrom January 2014 to January 2015, five patients at Via Christi hospital contracted listeriosis from contaminated Blue Bell ice cream they were served while hospitalized for unrelated illnesses.  Although the first case occurred during January 2014, the outbreak was not discovered until this month when health officials noticed that two people sickened with a rare strain of Listeria monocytogenes had both been hospitalized at Via Christi.

Cultures from the five patients revealed four rare strains of Listeria, three of which were also found in samples of Blue Bell ice cream made at the company’s facility in Brenham, Texas.

The company says the problem was due to a problem with one of their machines and has since stopped production on that line and withdrawn affected products from the market.

Blue Bell sells ice cream in the following 23 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma,  South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming. The products have a two-year shelf life.

Because the problem began 12 months prior to Blue Bell’s product withdrawal and because symptoms of Listeria can take as long as 70 days to develop, health officials are concerned that consumers may have potentially contaminated Blue Bell products in their freezers. The products affected are: Chocolate Chip Country Cookie SKU # 196, Great Divide Bar SKU #108, Sour Pop Green Apple Bar SKU #221, Cotton Candy Bar SKU #216, Scoops SKU #117, Vanilla Stick Slices SKU #964, Almond Bars SKU #156, 6 pack Cotton Candy Bars SKU #245, 6 pack Sour Pop Green Apple Bars SKU #249, and 12 pack No Sugar Added Mooo Bars* SKU #343.

Symptoms of a Listeria infection, which can take as long as 70 days to develop, include gastrointestinal problems followed by fever, severe headache, stiff neck, loss of balance and confusion. Among pregnant women, listeriosis can cause miscarriages and stillbirths. Others at high risk include infants, children, seniors and the immune-compromised. Complications of listeriosis include seizures, spinal injury, Listeria meningitis, brain damage and death.

 

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