June 24, 2022

Blue Bell Suspends Operations at Broken Arrow, OK Plant

After a Listeria monocytogenes outbreak in Kansas that sickened five people, Blue Bell is suspending operations at its Broken Arrow, Oklahoma plant. Ice cream produced at that plant was recalled for possible Listeria contamination late last month. Another Blue Bell Facility in Brenham, Texas, produced ice cream that was linked to the Kansas outbreak.

Blue Bell Ice Cream Listeria RecallThree of the patients sickened in the outbreak, which took place at the Via Christi hospital in Wichita, Kansas, died after they got sick. Of the four people interviewed by public health officials, all drank milkshakes made with a Blue Bell ice cream product called “Scoops”. Listeria strains isolated from this product were “highly related” to sequences of Listeria taken from the patients, according to government reports.

The statement on the company’s web site states, “the Broken Arrow operations will be suspended so that our team of expert consultants can conduct a careful and complete examination to determine the exact cause of the contamination.” The notice is dated April 3, 2015.

Whole genome sequencing of the Listeria strains taken from the recalled Blue Bell ice cream products were “highly related” to sequences of Listeria bacteria taken from four of the patients.

The symptoms of Listeria monocytogenes food poisoning include fever, stiff neck, muscle aches, confusion, diarrhea, and nausea. These flu-like symptoms are often confused with other illnesses, especially since it can take up to 70 days after exposure to the bacteria for people to get sick. If you ate any of the recalled products and do get sick with these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.

The government recommends that consumers do not eat any products produced at the Broken Arrow facility, and that institutions do not sell or serve those products. The facility is being voluntarily closed by the company for cleaning and investigations until further notice.

 

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