September 26, 2016

Blue Bell Lawsuit Refers to Via Christi Hospital Outbreak

The nation's first Blue Bell ice cream Listeria lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Texas includes details of similarity between a retirement home director in Houston who nearly died of Listeria meningitis and a cluster of five people in Wichita who were striken by listeriosis after eating Blue Bell ice cream while at Via Christi Hospital. All six individuals ate single-serve ice cream products purchased from Blue Bell Creameries Inc. through institutional, or food service, channels. According to a copy of the lawsuit filed by PritzkerOlsen Attorneys on behalf of David Philip Shockley, he repeatedly ate single-serve Blue Bell ice cream products while on the job at a 462-apartment continuing care retirement community in Houston. The 31-year-old man with a masters degree in public … [Read more...]

What Scientists Say about Listeria and Pregnancy

Bidart Bros. Listeria caramel apple outbreak was a grim reminder about the special threat listeriosis poses to expecting mothers and their babies. As analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  eleven of the 35 illnesses attributed to the outbreak were pregnancy-related, with one case resulting in a fetal loss. One of the expecting mothers passed the Listeria bacteria to her fetus and the baby was born with an infection that required a month of  treatment in the neo-natal intensive care unit of Lovelace Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Dr. Vanitha Janakiraman, writing in Obstetrics and Gynecology, provided in-depth information about the relationship between Listeria food poisoning and pregnancy. Infection from the pathogen is rare, but 20 more times common in … [Read more...]

Oklahoma Inspectors Liked Blue Bell Plant Just Before Finding Listeria

Dairy Services inspectors for the state of Oklahoma liked what they saw at the Blue Bell Ice Cream plant in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, just weeks before the company shut down production there and expanded recalls related to an ice cream Listeria outbreak. "Great job," "Keep it up!" and "No violations observed!" were among the remarks written into the report from a March 18 food safety review at the plant, according to an inspection document obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act. A few days earlier, federal health officials had linked Blue Bell ice cream made in Texas to an outbreak of listeriosis that killed three people in Wichita, Kansas. Then, on March 22, Kansas officials informed Blue Bell that they found Listeria monocytogenes in a Blue Bell 3-ounce … [Read more...]

Hospital Listeriosis Outbreaks Deadly and Difficult to Detect

Hospital listeriosis outbreaks, such as the one in Kansas linked to Blue Bell ice cream, can be difficult to detect and especially dangerous because 90 percent of Listeria-related illnesses fall on expecting mothers, infants, seniors and others who are immuno-suppressed. In 2010, a determined group of epidemiologists at the Texas State Department of Health Services launched an investigation into a puzzling outbreak that killed five hospital patients over a period of seven months at various hospitals in the central portion of the state. The team wrote about their work in the Oxford Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases, raising questions about why hospitals don't do more to protect vulnerable patients from food poisoning. The same agency recently helped to confirm that Blue Bell ice … [Read more...]

Lab Work Solidified Kansas Listeria Link to Blue Bell Ice Cream

The food poisoning laboratory that solidified the link between Blue Bell ice cream and a Listeria outbreak among Kansas hospital patients in Wichita is a deeply experienced unit with notable success in protecting public health, according to archives at the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The tragic Kansas Listeria outbreak killed three of five patients at Via Christi St. Francis Hospital who drank milkshakes made from a now-recalled Blue Bell ice cream product, "Scoops." Public alerts may have saved others from a similar fate, but officials are concerned that some recalled Blue Bell ice cream items may still be in the home freezers of people unaware of the outbreak. Bulk ice cream sold in half-gallons, pints, quarts and 3 gallons is not part of the Blue Bell … [Read more...]

Listeria Deaths in Caramel Apple Outbreak Raise Total for Year

One Listeria death for every five cases of listeriosis is the average mortality rate for Listeria food poisoning cases tracked in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is an average that fit the caramel apple Listeria outbreak with the same tragic consequences that health experts saw in other outbreaks of listeriosis in 2014. The seven case patients who died with listeriosis after eating pre-packaged, commercially produced caramel apples  lifted last year's Listeria death total in the U.S. to 13, from four outbreaks. State and federal agencies have associated the caramel apple outbreak with fruit supplied by California-based Bidart Brothers Inc. In all, 13 of 50 Listeria outbreak case patients died and one fetal loss was suffered. Not every … [Read more...]

Caramel Apple Listeria Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Minnesota Man

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Minnesota man who allegedly contracted a Listeria infection, listeriosis, from contaminated caramel apples he purchased at a Cottage Grove, Minnesota, Cub Foods store. The complaint, filed in Fourth Judicial District Court in Hennepin County, names Bidart Bros. Inc. and Supervalu Inc. as defendants (Spear v. Bidart Bros. Inc, Supervalu Inc, Cub Foods, Case No. 27-CV-15-4555). The Minnesota man is one of thirty-five confirmed listeriosis cases in an outbreak linked to caramel apples made with Bidart Bros. apples and sold under the brand names Carnival, Happy Apples, and Merb’s Candies. People from 12 states were sickened: Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, and … [Read more...]

People From Five Kansas Counties Hit With Listeria in Past Year

Residents from five Kansas counties have been hit with Listeria since January 2014, including five Kansans believed to be sickened by contaminated Blue Bell ice cream served at Via Christi St. Francis Hospital in Wichita. The statistics from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment don't reveal names or hometowns of those who became ill, nor would the agency say which of the six listeriosis patients from the five counties are considered victims of the Blue Bell/Via Christi outbreak. Of the six Kansas listeriosis patients, two are from Sedgwick County, which is dominated by the Wichita area. One each is from Harvey (county seat is Newton, Kansas); Wyandotte (county seat is Kansas City); Shawnee (county seat is Topeka, Kansas) and Ford (county seat is Dodge City, Kansas.) The five … [Read more...]

Blue Bell Had Trouble With Ice Cream Line Before Listeria Discovery

The maker of Blue Bell ice cream shut down its Scoops production line even before South Carolina health inspectors discovered Listeria in products from the same line, the company's CEO has said in two separate interviews about a deadly Kansas listeriosis outbreak associated with Scoops. Blue Bell CEO Paul Cruse told The Houston Chonicle in a March 13 story that the machine utilized to make Scoops and other single-serve items had not been in operation for about a month and a half. That means the shutdown occurred days if not weeks before February 12, when the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control first detected Listeria monocytogenes in two types of Blue Bell products made on the same line. The checks were part of routine inspections of food products at a … [Read more...]

Missouri Links Were Central to Caramel Apple Listeria Outbreak

Five Missouri residents were confirmed as case patients in the Listeria caramel apple outbreak and two Missouri food companies were involved in key recalls of caramel apples that they distributed around the country. Only one other state besides Missouri had more than five listeriosis victims in the outbreak and one of the state's recalls covered caramel apples made by a Missouri company for Kroger stores in many different parts of the country. From the outset of public awareness of this outbreak in mid- to late-December, Missouri citizens and companies were in the discussion. On December 24, 2014, the Happy Apple Company of Washington, Missouri, issued a  recall of many Happy Apple Brand caramel apples because they had the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Some … [Read more...]

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