December 4, 2016

Mountain Thins Trail Mix Recall for Possible Listeria Expands

Mountain Thins Trail Mix recall for possible Listeria contamination is being expanded to include one additional lot after its sunflower seed supplier, SupOpta, expanded its recall. Consumers who have purchased these products should not eat them as Listeria can cause serious illness and death. Symptoms of  a Listeria infection can take as long as 70 days to develop. They include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Among pregnant women, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths. At the time of the recall, no illnesses had been reported to the manufacturer of the recalled product Brown & Haley of Tacoma, Washington.     … [Read more...]

Blue Bell May Have Figured Out Listeria Contamination Source

According to two letters sent to the FDA in mid-February, 2016, Blue Bell thinks they have identified where the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria were living in two of its plants last year. But the problem areas were redacted in the letters that the FDA published recently, to "protect trade secrets." The company found the pathogenic bacteria in equipment at its Brenham, Texas plant and thinks it spread in the drainage system of the plant in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Blue Bell products prompted a massive recall of all of Blue Bell's products. All three plants were shut down for months last summer. The company started producing and selling ice cream again in August 2016 after an investor stepped up to help them out. Ten people in four … [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...]

Department of Justice Investigating Blue Bell after Listeria Outbreak

CBS News is reporting that the Department of Justice has started an investigation into Blue Bell after their ice cream was linked to a deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that killed three people. An FDA investigation found the pathogenic bacteria in two of Blue Bell's three production plants in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas.  The company allegedly knew that one plant was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes in 2013, according to records. The Blue Bell ice cream outbreak was the tenth largest outbreak of 2015, sickening at least 10 people in four states. Three people who were in a Kansas hospital died of their infections after consuming ice cream made by Blue Bell. The company recalled all of its products in April 2015 and closed down all of its production for weeks. FDA … [Read more...]

Largest Multistate Food Poisoning Outbreaks 2015: #10, Blue Bell

The 10th largest multistate food poisoning outbreak of 2015 was the Blue Bell ice cream Listeria outbreak. The outbreak, linked to the nation’s third-largest ice cream maker, sickened at least 10 people from four states. Three of them died. Health officials used DNA tests to identify cases as far back as 2010 that were part of the outbreak. Confirmed cases were identified in Arizona (1), Kansas (5), Oklahoma (1), and Texas (3). The three fatalities were in Kansas where all five patients were hospital patients who ate ice cream or milkshakes made from a Blue Bell single-serving product called Scoops. After the Kansas patients were identified, the hospital was told to hold all Bell Bell products in quarantine. Testing on these products found Listeria in single serving chocolate ice … [Read more...]

After Listeria Outbreak, Blue Bell Resumes Ice Cream Production in Brenham, TX

In April 2015, Blue Bell ice cream was linked to a deadly Listeria outbreak that prompted a recall of all of its products and the temporary closure of its production facilities. The plant in Sylacauga, Alabama was the first to come online, restarting production in August. The plant in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma was next, restarting in September. This week, the company's plant in Brenham, Texas began making ice cream for the first time in seven months. During that time, the company has made changes to the facility and to its process, according to a statement on its website. "Operations are currently on a limited basis as the company seeks to confirm that new procedures, facility enhancements and employee training are effective.  Ice cream produced will be closely monitored and tested. There … [Read more...]

Blue Bell Workers Blow the Whistle on Management

A report agreeing with the FDA report on Blue Bell Ice cream factory conditions aired on CBS News last night, revealing that former Blue Bell Ice Cream workers said management allegedly ignored complaints about unsanitary conditions in the factory in Texas. Blue Bell ice cream was linked to a multistate, deadly Listeria monocytogenes outbreak earlier this year. In that outbreak, at least ten people in four states were sickened and three people died. Blue Bell had to recall millions of gallons of ice cream and all of its plants were shut down for months. One of the former workers told CBS news that "A lot of times when I walked in there was just ice cream all over the floor. Sometimes the machines would just go haywire, the product would just continually run through the conveyor belt … [Read more...]

Blue Bell Restarts Limited Ice Cream Production After Listeria Outbreak

After a deadly Listeria outbreak triggered a shutdown of its ice cream manufacturing facilities, Blue Bell Creameries is restarting production on a limited basis. During a test period, production will resume at the company's plant in Sylacauga, Ala. where changes to the facility, the process and employee training have been put in place. A firm date for the start of ice cream sales has not been set. “We have been working diligently to prepare our facilities to resume test production, and our focus throughout this process has been to ensure the public that when our products return to market, they are safe,” said Greg Bridges, vice president of operations for Blue Bell. “We are very excited about taking these important first steps as part of the process of getting high-quality Blue Bell … [Read more...]

FDA Found Listeria in Blue Bell Sylacauga Plant

Federal health officials found Listeria at all three manufacturing plants operated by Blue Bell Creameries, according to documents released today by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The presence of Listeria had previously been confirmed at the company's plants in Broken Arrow, Okla. and Brenham, Texas but one of the documents released today shows Listeria was found in an environmental sample taken from the company's plant in Sylacauga, AL on April 28, 2015. The document was one of 34 posted on the agency's website today, the same day that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that it has ended its investigation of the Listeria outbreak linked to Blue Bell ice cream which has killed three people and sickened several others. The five-year span of … [Read more...]

CDC Says Blue Bell Listeria Outbreak is Over

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has ended its investigation into the Blue Bell Listeria outbreak. Since its last update in early May, the agency added no new cases ending its probe of food safety problems at the nation's third-largest ice cream maker with 10 cases reported from four states and three fatalities. Several strains of Listeria were involved. Most of the confirmed cases-Arizona (1), Kansas (5), Oklahoma (1), and Texas (3); were sickened by strains identical to those found in ice cream made at the company's plants in Brenham, Texas and Broken Arrow, Okla. The three fatalities were in Kansas. Using PulseNet, a national database that allows public health agencies to share pathogen "fingerprints,"  health officials retrospectively identified illnesses that … [Read more...]

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