January 19, 2021

Two Ice Cream Listeria Outbreaks in Three Months

In the last three months, there have been two Listeria outbreaks linked to ice cream: the Blue Bell Listeria outbreak at Via Christi hospital in Wichita and the Snoqualmie ice cream outbreak in Seattle.

Listeria monocytogenes bacteriaThe Blue Bell outbreak took place over a 12-month period starting in January 2014, but was only discovered recently. Five people hospitalized at Via Christi for unrelated illnesses during 2014  all contracted Listeria infections from Blue Bell ice cream they were served. Three people died.

Blue Bell withdrew products from the market and ceased production on the line associated with the problem. However, public health officials urge consumers to check their freezers for products potentially contaminated with Listeria. They include: 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.

In late December, a Listeria outbreak linked to Snoqualmie ice cream was announced. That outbreak sickened two men in the Seattle area. The men, who both had underlying health conditions, were treated and released from area hospitals.

That outbreak triggered a number of recalls including  a year’s worth of Snoqualmie, Emerald & Spruce, Top Pot, Pink’s, Full Tilt  ice creams and  Groove Gluten-Free Ice Cream Sandwiches.

Symptoms of a Listeria infection, which can take as long as 70 days  after exposure 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 young children, those with compromised immune systems and seniors.

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