Blue Bell is dealing with a listeria problem once again. Earlier this year, Blue Bell issued a massive recall of their ice cream when 10 listeria cases in four states were linked to them. This caused Blue Bell to temporarily close their manufacturing plants in Texas, Oklahoma, and Alabama to completely disinfect them until no traces of the bacteria existed.
A Florida man, Brent McRae, came down with meningitis in April. This diagnosis came shortly after McRae had eaten Blue Bell’s Cookies ‘n Cream ice cream. McRae’s wife sent the Blue Bell container to Kappa Laboratories in Miami. The container tested positive for listeria and the product code on the container links it to the Alabama plant.
During the recall earlier this year, listeria had been found in both the Texas and Oklahoma plants but not in the Alabama one. A spokesperson for the company made a comment on this new potential crisis.
“We have just had this situation brought to our attention, and we of course take all such matters very seriously. We are reviewing the third-party lab report we have received, but because this overall situation involves litigation, we are not able to discuss any details of the matter.”
Bill Marler, a lawyer specializing in foodborne illness cases, is representing McRae. Marler states that McRae is considering filing a lawsuit against Blue Bell.
As of now, the case of meningitis that McRae was diagnosed with has not been connected with the other listeria cases around the country. Listeria has been known to cause meningitis, but proving this is what happened with McRae will not be easy.
Doctors did not diagnose him with listeriosis. The treatment that he was given for meningitis would have killed any listeria in his system. McRae was given high doses of antibiotics intravenously.
Christine Pearson, a spokeswoman for the CDC, said that they will not be able to compare the strain found in Alabama to the strains found elsewhere.
“Our understanding is that, based on the type of testing done, it will not be possible to compare it to the strains in the Blue Bell outbreak to say whether or not this is related. We remain in contact with state health departments to assist.”
The CDC does caution consumers to not eat any Blue Bell products.
Will Blue Bell be able to recover the reputation for quality that they had before their listeria problem?
[Image via Bluebell.com]