On Monday Blue Bell Creameries declared that they will remove all their products from the shelves after listeria was found in two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) the source of the listeria outbreak was the plants in Oklahoma and Texas. The outbreak led to the death of 3 persons in Kansas. Other 5 persons were infected: 2 in Kansas and 3 in Texas.
Paul Kruse, the chief executive of the company, said that they cannot clearly say how the bacteria ended up into the products. He added that the company will recall all the products which have the potential of being contaminated from 23 states of the US and also from international locations. This includes ice cream, sherbet, frozen snacks and frozen yogurt.
“This is a complex and ongoing, multistate outbreak of listeriosis occurring over an extended period of several years.”
A videotape message was posted on the company’s website in which Kruse apologized for everything. He said that they were very sad for this situation and asked for the consumers’ forgiveness. He said that the company is committed to do what is 100% the right thing. He explained that the best way to do this is to remove all their products from the market until they are sure that all of them are safe.
Listeria monocytogenes mainly affects young children, elderly people and people with frail immune systems. It can cause severe and sometimes fatal infections. In the case of pregnant women listeria can generate stillbirths and miscarriages. The most common symptoms of listeria infection are diarrhea, nausea, headache, fever and abdominal pain.
Operations where suspended in the Oklahoma plant and they will remain so while the company investigates what was the source of the bacteria. Blue Bell will develop a process for testing all their products before releasing them on the market. Soon they intend to resume a limited distribution.
The cleaning and sanitization system of the company will also be expanded. The trainings provided for the employees will be boosted. In addition, the swabbing system will be expanded by 800%: it will include more surfaces and it will send samples to be tested at a microbiology laboratory on a daily basis.
Image Source: Marler Blog