The Food and Drug Administration are investigating after three people died from Listeria bacteria after consuming tainted Blue Bell ice cream. The investigation sparked Blue Bell Creameries’ first recall in its 108-year history.
WLTX reports that the FDA was alerted to a possible issue at a Texas Blue Bell plant after five people, including the three that died, were sickened after eating ice cream products made in the factory. All of the tainted products came from one production line in the Texas facility. The FDA confirmed that the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes was found in the samples tested.
According to the FDA, the following products have been recalled due to possible Listeria contamination:
- Chocolate Chip Country Cookie, SKU # 196
- Great Divide Bar, SKU #108
- Sour Pop Green Apple Bar, SKU #221
- Cotton Candy Bar,SKU #216
- Scoops,SKU #117
- Vanilla Stick Slices,SKU #964
- Almond Bars,SKU #156
- 6 pack Cotton Candy Bars,SKU #245
- 6 pack Sour Pop Green Apple Bars,SKU #249
- 12 pack No Sugar Added Mooo Bars*SKU #343
The FDA notes that four of the five infected patients consumed the tainted ice cream product while in the hospital being treated for other illnesses prior to exposure. However, the FDA says that any recalled product should be thrown away and not consumed, even if the package had previously been consumed without incident. In addition to throwing out the products, the FDA recommends that any surfaces that came into contact with the product be thoroughly cleaned.
“Listeria monocytogenes can grow at refrigerator temperatures, as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius). The longer ready-to-eat refrigerated foods are stored in the refrigerator, the more opportunity Listeriahas to grow. For refrigerators and other food preparation surfaces and food cutting utensils that may have come in contact with the potentially contaminated ice cream, it is very important that the consumers thoroughly clean these areas.”
The FDA notes that anyone who has consumed a recalled Blue Bell product should watch for signs of Listeriosis which includes muscle aches and fever. Listeriosis signs do not show up immediately in the affected patient. Therefore, consumers should watch for signs of the bacteria even if the product was consumed weeks prior.
“Anyone who experiences fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms, or develops fever and chills after eating the ice cream should seek medical care and tell their health care provider about any history of eating the ice cream. Symptoms can appear from a few days up to a few weeks after consumption of the contaminated food.”
Do you have any of the tainted Blue Bell products in your refrigerator or freezer? Did you know that this was Blue Bell’s first recall in the history of the company?