Around the same time that everyone was freaking out about Sabra recalling 30,000 cases of its Classic Hummus due to possible listeria contamination, Blue Bell Creameries also issued recalls for over 25 of its ice cream products due to additional listeria fears.
Unfortunately for everyone, the news gets worse: Blue Bell just issued a worldwide recall on ALL of its products due to listeria contamination fears.
Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse issued an official statement about the expanded recall, in which he said:
“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 are confident that they are all safe. At every step, we have made decisions in the best interest of our customers based on the evidence we had available at the time. We have brought in one of the world’s most respected food safety microbiologists to inspect our plants and systems to help us get to the bottom of this issue.
Through further internal testing, we learned today that Listeria monocytogenes was found in an additional half gallon of ice cream in our Brenham facility. While we initially believed this situation was isolated to one machine in one room, we now know that was wrong. We need to know more to be completely confident that our products are safe for our customers.”
Back in March, the initial limited recall occurred after Blue Bell products were linked to three deaths in Kansas. The LA Times reports that this newly-expanded recall came about due to “an enhanced sampling program” that revealed chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream produced on March 17th and March 27th also contained the deadly bacteria. Multiple positive tests for bacteria on multiple lines and at multiple plants sounds like a great reason to investigate to us.
As it turns out, the Blue Bell listeria outbreak dates to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control. CNN reports, “The agency connected patients from 2010-2015 to the current outbreak through comparisons to a database of bacteria DNA.” The news outlet spoke to a deputy director at the CDC, who said that there may be more cases of people sickened by listeria than the CDC knows about. “The ‘rough estimate’ is one more case exists for every case the CDC hears about,” according to the CDC. If that estimate is correct, it means around six people have died from listeria in Blue Bell and approximately 20 people have fallen sick. Those numbers are not small.
Blue Bell currently distributes products to retail and food service accounts all over the country and internationally. While you can’t find Blue Bell ice cream in retail stores in California, the LA Times reports that Outback Steakhouse restaurants throughout the country often use Blue Bell ice cream for their desserts. However, the chain told its franchises to switch to a different brand after the first listeria outbreak. One store manager told the LA Times that they hadn’t used Blue Bell products in about a month.
It’s been a bad month for food safety scares. Between these two listeria outbreaks in popular foods, last week’s 1,920 pound Beech-Nut baby food recall due to broken glass, and breaking news of an avian flu outbreak that will result in 5.3 million laying hens at an Iowa egg facility having to be destroyed, it’s enough to make anyone resort to drinking booze out of a fake baby strapped to your chest.
[via the LA Times]