June 16, 2024

Former Blue Bell President Charged in Connection with 2015 Listeria Issue

A Texas grand jury has charged a former Blue Bell Creameries president with wire fraud and conspiracy in connection with an alleged scheme to cover up the company's sales of Listeria monocytogenes contaminated ice cream in 2015, according to the Justice Department. The indictment was filed in federal court in Austin, Texas. The former president Paul Kruse was charged with seven counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The indictment states that when Texas officials told Blue Bell in February 2015 that two of their ice cream products teated positive for Listeria monocytogenes, Kruse allegedly tried to deceive some Blue Bell customers, according to the complaint, telling employees to remove potentially contaminated products from stores without telling retailers or … [Read more...]

Texas Court Sentenced Blue Bell Creameries; Will Pay $17.25 Million in 2015 Listeria Outbreak

A federal court in Texas has sentenced Blue Bell Creameries  to pay $17.5 million in criminal penalties in association with the deadly 2015 Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that killed three people who lived in Kansas. The company allegedly shipped contaminated product to hospitals where patients who were already susceptible to infection ate the ice cream in milkshakes and ice cream cups. In May 2020, Blue Bell pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of distributing adulterated ice cream products. The $17.25 million fine and forfeiture is the largest ever criminal penalty in a food safety case. Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D., Associated Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs in the FDA, said in a statement, "The health of American consumers and the safety of our food are too important to … [Read more...]

Blue Bell Pleads Guilty in Ice Cream Listeria Monocytogenes Outbreak

Blue Bell pleads guilty in ice cream Listeria monocytogenes outbreak and pays $19.35 million. And a former company president has been charged in connection with a scheme to allegedly cover up the incident, according to the Justice Department. The charge is that the company shipped contaminated and adulterated product. That deadly outbreak covered a five year time span from 2010 to 2015 that sickened 10 people. All of the patients were hospitalized. Three people who lived in Kansas died. Eight of the patients were hospitalized when they were served contaminated Blue Bell ice cream. The outbreak strain of Listeria monocytogenes were found in ice cream made at the Blue Bell plants in Brenham, Texas and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. This outbreak was long and complicated; we have put together … [Read more...]

Blue Bell Wants to Ease Listeria Precautions

According to the Houston Chronicle, Blue Bell wants to drop the precautionary standards it put in place after the deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to its products was revealed in 2014. Ten people were sickened in that outbreak; the illnesses went back to 2010. Instead, the company wants to use the more general safety measures used in the ice cream industry. But Blue Bell was finding Listeria Monocytogenes in its plants a year after the outbreak. And according to FDA records, the company knew about potential Listeria contamination in one of its plants a year before the outbreak. The Justice Department started an investigation into the company's practices  and is trying to determine when company officials knew about the contamination. FDA officials found Listeria … [Read more...]

Blue Bell Ice Cream Recalled for Listeria

Blue Bell Ice Cream is voluntarily recalling some products made in its Sylacauga, Alabama plant because they were made with a chocolate chip cookie dough ingredient supplied by Aspen Hills that may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. Blue Bell ice cream was the center of the 10th largest foodborne illness outbreak of 2015. Ten people were sickened with listeriosis after eating Blue Bell products; three of them died. You can see pictures of the recalled products at the FDA web site.   Aspen Hills sent a recall notice to Blue Bell about its No Egg Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough after testing at the Blue Bell facility "identified a potential problem," according to the recall notice. No reports of illness have been received to date, but listeriosis, the illness … [Read more...]

After Listeria Outbreak, Texas Fines Blue Bell $850,000

After being linked to a 2015 Listeria outbreak that sickened at least 10 people, killing three of them, Blue Bell Creameries has been fined $850,000 by the the Texas Department of State Health Services for allowing adulterated product to enter the market and causing illness. But the company many only pay a fraction of the fine. Within 30 days, Blue Bell must pay $175,000,  but will not have to pay the remaining balance if it follows the terms outlined in the enforcement agreement. The terms include: continuing to notify the health department of any test results from samples taken from ice cream, ingredients, food surfaces, machinery and other equipment in its Brenham plant that are positive for Listeria;  continuing to“test and hold” procedures "meaning ice cream must be found to be … [Read more...]

Blue Bell’s Listeria Clarification Needs Clarification

Two recent announcements from Blue Bell Creameries about new food safety measures following the deadly Listeria outbreak linked to its ice cream have people wondering: has the company recently found Listeria at its Texas ice cream plant or not? The short answer is yes. So why the confusion? On January 7, the company posted a statement on its website called "An update on our enhanced procedures at our production facilities." That statement led some media outlets, including this one, to believe the company's new food safety measures were helping to identify areas where Listeria was present enabling them to clean and sanitize the areas to prevent contamination of ice cream. But the next day, January 8, the company removed that announcement and replaced it with another entitled: … [Read more...]

Blue Bell: No Worries, But We’re Still Finding Listeria in Our Plant

Almost a year after it was linked to an outbreak that killed three people, Blue Bell Creameries is still finding Listeria in its manufacturing facilities. But it's nothing to worry about and it's actually kind of a good thing, the company said in an announcement on its website yesterday. Because Listeria naturally occurs in the environment, it's not surprising that it continues to show up in the company's manufacturing plants. Finding it means their robust testing program is working, the company said in the announcement titled: An update on our enhanced procedures at our production facilities. "We are pleased that our enhanced environmental and product testing procedures are working. We have identified locations where suspected Listeria species may be present in our facility, and we … [Read more...]

Blue Bell Trucks Hit the Road for First Time Since Listeria Outbreak

Trucks full of Blue Bell ice cream are on delivery routes for the first time since a deadly Listeria outbreak forced a temporary closure of  all three Blue Bell manufacturing facilities. In a Facebook post, the company told customers they'd be hearing soon where the ice cream will be available. Several strains of Listeria were involved in the outbreak tied to the nation’s third-largest ice cream maker. At least 10 people in four states were sickened, three of them died. Listeria strains cultured from patients were identical to those found in ice cream made at the company’s plants in Brenham, Texas and Broken Arrow, Okla. The earliest cases were identified in 2010. After the ice cream was linked to the outbreak, Blue Bell began a series of product recalls. Eventually, the company … [Read more...]

Blue Bell Builds Inventory for Return After Listeria Outbreak

Blue Bell Creameries is building inventory for a return to retail sales after a deadly Listeria outbreak  forced a temporary shutdown.  In a Facebook post, the company told customers to "stay tuned in the coming weeks for details of our return." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said several strains of Listeria were involved in the outbreak tied to the nation’s third-largest ice cream maker. At least 10 people were sickened, three people died. Cultures of Listeria strains from patients were identical to those found in ice cream made at the company’s plants in Brenham, Texas and Broken Arrow, Okla. The earliest cases were identified in 2010. After the ice cream was linked to the outbreak, Blue Bell began a series of product recalls, eventually recalling all of … [Read more...]

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