Blue Bell ice cream recalls all products due to possible listeria contamination

By Danielle Haynes
Blue Bell is recalling all products after more positive listeria tests. File Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI
Blue Bell is recalling all products after more positive listeria tests. File Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

BRENHAM, Texas, April 20 (UPI) -- Blue Bell Creameries on Monday announced it is voluntarily including all of its products in a recall stemming from three deaths linked to listeria.

The expanded recall was the result of new testing that found half-gallons of the company's chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for the bacteria.


This means Blue Bell has now had several varieties of ice cream and ice cream novelties produced at different plants test positive for listeria.

Recalls first began in March after FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigations linked the company's ice cream novelty products to five listeria illnesses at a Kansas hospital. Three of the patients died.

The company issued further recalls after other items tested positive for listeria.

"We're committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe," Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and president, said. "We are heartbroken about this situation and apologize to all of our loyal Blue Bell fans and customers. Our entire history has been about making the very best and highest quality ice cream, and we intend to fix this problem. We want enjoying our ice cream to be a source of joy and pleasure, never a cause for concern, so we are committed to getting this right."


"At every step, we have made decisions in the best interest of our customers based on the evidence we had available at the time," Kruse said. "At this point, we cannot say with certainty how listeria was introduced to our facilities and so we have taken this unprecedented step. We continue to work with our team of experts to eliminate this problem."

The company has introduced a new "test and hold policy," meaning all products will be tested and held for release to the public until the results have come back negative for the bacteria. Blue Bell's plant in Broken Arrow, Okla., remains closed.

Blue Bell also says it is implementing new measures to prevent future contamination, including expanding its procedures for cleaning and sanitizing equipment, expanding its system for testing the plant environment, sending daily samples to laboratories for testing, and providing additional employee training.

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