June 19, 2024

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...]

What do Peter Pan and Blue Bell Have in Common?

One is peanut butter, one is ice cream. One was contaminated with Salmonella, the other with Listeria. Still, there are similarities between the Peter Pan peanut butter and Blue Bell ice cream food poisoning outbreaks. Peter Pan was in the news this week because the company that makes it, ConAgra Grocery Products LLC, a subsidiary of ConAgra Foods Inc.,  pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in connection with a 2006-2007 Salmonella outbreak that sickened 700 people. ConAgra admitted that it had shipped contaminated food across state lines and agreed to pay a criminal fine of $8 million and to $3.2  million in asset forfeiture. “No company can let down its guard when it comes to these kinds of microbiological contaminants.  … [Read more...]

Will Wrongful Death Claims In Kansas Follow Blue Bell Lawsuit

Now that the first lawsuit has been filed in the Blue Bell Listeria outbreak, will wrongful death claims for Kansas victims follow? Three people who were patients at Via Christi hospital in Wichita who were unknowingly served contaminated Blue Bell products died from their Listeria infections. The patients ate a single-serve Blue Bell product called Scoops during their hospital stays which were later found to be contaminated with Listeria. Scoops are one of several single serve Blue Bell products that were shipped to the company's institutional customers which included hospitals, schools, nursing homes and the retirement community where David Philip Shockley worked. Shockley, the plaintiff in the federal lawsuit filed May 19 against Blue Bell, repeatedly ate single-serve Blue Bell … [Read more...]

2009 Inspection Report Shows Pipes Dripping into Blue Bell Ice Cream

Blue Bell Creameries had food safety violations at its production facilities dating back to 2009, according to documents released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the Dallas Morning News. Blue Bell products made at its Brenham, Texas and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma facilities have been linked to a Listeria outbreak that has killed three people and sickened several others. Dairy products are the leading cause of Listeria outbreaks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One reason, is that manufacturing conditions are ideal for the bacteria's growth. Listeria thrives in cool places and in areas where moisture collects. When FDA officials inspected the Brenham, Texas plant in July 2009, they … [Read more...]

FDA Report on Blue Bell Broken Arrow, OK Ice Cream Plant

The Listeria monocytogenes outbreak linked to Blue Bell ice cream has sickened 10 people and killed three of those patients. The FDA has issued a report on each of Blue Bell's facilities after extensive inspections and investigations. We told you about the Brenham, Texas facility inspection report last week. Now here are details on the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma facility. The initial recall of Blue Bell ice cream was for product made at the Brenham facility. But officials in Kansas conducted an investigation at the Via Christi hospital kitchen after a Listeria outbreak there earlier this year. An unopened single serving cup of Blue Bell ice cream taken from the hospital kitchen contained the pathogenic bacteria. That ice cream was made in the Broken Arrow plant. The inspection report … [Read more...]

Law Firm Files First Blue Bell Listeria Lawsuit

The first lawsuit against Blue Bell, stemming from the Listeria outbreak linked to Blue Bell ice cream, has been filed. The suit was filed on behalf of David Philip Shockley, a 33-year-old Maryland man who developed Listeria meningitis that left him with severe neurological impairment. The suit was filed May 19, 2015 in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Texas Austin Division. In 2013, Mr. Shockley was 31 years old and living in Houston, Texas where he worked as the Associate Executive Director and Nursing Facility Administrator at a retirement community that served single serving Blue Bell ice cream and other Blue Bell ice cream products, according to the complaint. While at work, Mr. Shockley regularly consumed Blue Bell products, he also purchased Blue Bell ice cream  at … [Read more...]

Listeria Outbreak Forces Blue Bell Lay Offs, Furloughs

A temporary closure prompted by a deadly Listeria outbreak linked to Blue Bell ice cream has forced layoffs and furloughs affecting more that 70 percent of the company's employees. Blue Bell Creameries CEO and President Paul Kruse described the cuts, salary reductions and other cost-cutting measures as an  “ agonizing decision” that he put off as long as possible. In March, it was discovered that Listeria in the company's ice cream has been responsible for 10 illnesses and three deaths since 2010. After  Listeria was found in Blue Bell products made at two of the companies three facilities, production was halted at all three. A nationwide recall was issued for all of the company's products. Health officials are still looking through records to see if other illnesses were caused by the … [Read more...]

After Listeria Outbreak, Blue Bell Agrees to New Food Safety Measures

After its ice cream was linked to a deadly Listeria outbreak, Blue Bell Creameries has agreed to new food safety rules set by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The company must take all of the steps outlined in the agreement before it can begin selling ice cream again Bell Bell's production facilities were temporarily closed after Listeria monocytogenes in its ice cream products. According to the terms of the agreement, Blue Bell has agreed to: Retain an independent sanitation and/or microbiology expert who can help the company assure that the plant and the equipment are properly prepared, maintained and operated to safely produce products that do not contain Listeria monocytogenes. Retain all test results and make them available to DSHS upon request. Notify DSHS … [Read more...]

FDA Inspection Report of Blue Bell Brenham, Texas Plant

The FDA has released three inspection reports of the Blue Bell ice cream facilities: one in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, one in Brenham, Texas, and the third in Sylacauga, Alabama. We thought it would be a good idea to cover each inspection report, since they highlight problems at the company that may have led to the Listeria monocytogenes outbreak that has sickened ten people and killed three. The problem was first discovered at the plant in Texas. The inspections on the Brenham, Texas plant were conducted on March 16, 2015 through May 1, 2015, according to the FDA Form 483, which is published after inspections. The inspection discovered multiple problems discovered long before the recalls started . The Great Divide Bar manufactured on 1/12/15, and Chocolate Chip Country Cookie, … [Read more...]

What do Foster Farms and Blue Bell Have in Common?

Chicken and ice cream don't have much in common. But the food poisoning outbreaks linked Foster Farms chicken and Blue Bell ice cream do. In 2013, Foster Farms was linked to a 29-state Salmonella outbreak that sickened 634 people with an especially virulent strain of Salmonella Heidelberg. Among those who became ill , was Noah Craten, an 18-month-old whose Salmonella infection created abscesses in his brain. To save his life, surgeons had to cut open his skull and remove them. Noah's story was featured in the Frontline report, The Trouble with Chicken, which traced the arc of Foster Farms decade-long Salmonella problem, spotlighted the USDA's lack of enforcement ability and begged the question who is accountable when food makes people sick. "Companies that make and … [Read more...]

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