November 29, 2021

Food Safety Flaws Noted at Blue Bell’s Texas Ice Cream Plant

The Blue Bell ice cream plant associated with the highly publicized Kansas Listeria outbreak exhibited multiple food safety flaws noted by a group of 11 FDA inspectors who visited the facility during the last half of April. According to the report of inspectional observations by the group, the Blue Bell plant continued to manufacture ice cream products for several days after the company's own sampling found Listeria monocytogenes around a drain that was not in direct contact with food. And by then, the Texas Department of State Health Services had notified Blue Bell that Listeria monocytogenes had been found in products from the plant. The company itself confirmed Listeria findings in its Great Divide Bar and Chocolate Chip Country Cookie, the report said. One of the observations made … [Read more...]

Blue Bell Attacking Listeria Problem with Overhaul of Facilities

Major floor repairs and potential work on ventilation systems at Blue Bell ice cream plants will be part of an intensive maintenance overhaul that could take months to complete, the Texas company said in a public statement this week. The effort also will include disassembly of equipment and extensive swabbing of surfaces in search of Listeria monocytogenes bacteria that have crept into the company's products for several years. Public health authorities brought the contamination to light in an investigation of three Listeria deaths in Kansas last year traced to milkshakes made from Blue Bell "Scoops'' ice cream. Now they know that a total of 10 people have been sickened in the outbreak in four states. Half of the victims ate ice cream from Texas facilities and half ate ice cream from … [Read more...]

Not All Blue Bell Listeria Cases Occurred in Hospitals

Most of those sickened in the Blue Bell Listeria outbreak were served contaminated ice cream while they were hospitalized for other health issues. But not all of them. A new CDC graphic shows where the illnesses occurred and where the tainted ice cream was made.  Five people were sickened while they were being treated at a Kansas hospital and three illnesses occurred in patients at three different Texas hospitals. But the Arizona and Oklahoma cases do not appear to have been exposed at hospitals. Health officials say more cases could be added to the outbreak which has sickened 10 people in four states, killing three of them. Blue Bell has recalled all of its products currently on the market. Consumers who have Blue Bell ice cream in their freezers should not eat it as it may be … [Read more...]

Blue Bell Plants to Get Intensive Cleaning, Retraining, Re-engineering

Blue Bell Ice Cream announced an intensive cleaning, retraining and re-engineering plan to start next week to exterminate Listeria monocytogenes  -- the pathogen that led to a deadly outbreak of listeriosis in Kansas. Three people in Wichita are dead after contracting the disease last year. The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have linked the illnesses to consumption of milkshakes made from Blue Bell ice cream from Brenham, Texas. Another cluster of listeriosis in Texas has been tied to Blue Bell ice cream made in Oklahoma. The company also has a manufacturing plant in Alabama and recently announced a complete recall of all its ice cream after once again finding the pathogen in line samples of its products. “We intend to make a fresh start,'' said Blue Bell CEO and … [Read more...]

Lawyer Discusses Filing Blue Bell Ice Cream Listeria Lawsuit

Food Poisoning Bulletin talked to attorney Fred Pritzker about the Blue Bell ice cream Listeria monocytogenes outbreak and filing lawsuits. The CDC states that people have been sickened by Blue Bell products as far back as 2010. We asked Mr. Pritzker how this is possible. He said, "Many people don't know that listeriosis is a reportable illness. The Listeria bacteria is genetically fingerprinted using whole genome sequencing or pulsed field-gel electrophoresis in a national  laboratory known as 'PulseNet.'  If no matches to other patients are found, no outbreak is announced. When this current outbreak was revealed, officials searched past records and found genetic matches in PulseNet that added six cases, from 2010 to 2014, to the outbreak total. Some of these patients were diagnosed … [Read more...]

Blue Bell Recalls ALL Ice Cream Products: More Listeria

Blue Bell Creameries has recalled all of its ice cream products today after two more samples tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. The company issued the recall today on its web site. The recall covers ice cream made at all of its facilities. The recall is for all Blue Bell ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, and frozen snacks currently for sale. The products are distributed to retail outlets, food service accounts, convenience stores, and supermarkets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming, and international locations. An enhanced sampling program that was initiated by Blue … [Read more...]

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