The deaths of three patients who contracted food poisoning while in the hospital for other conditions have been linked to a venerable favorite of the south – Blue Bell ice cream.
A household name in parts of America, Blue Bell issued the first product recall in its 108-year history on Friday. The company also shut down one of its production lines as the government warned consumers to clear their freezers of a number of ice cream bars and cookies made by the Texan firm.
Five adults who were patients at the same hospital in Wichita, Kansas, contracted listeriosis from the listeria bacteria sometimes found in food. Three subsequently died.
Federal and state investigators are looking into the deaths; the investigation could expand beyond the hospital and Kansas to include other deaths where listeria may have been a factor and was linked to eating tainted versions of the popular brand of ice cream…
Four of the five patients for whom dietary information was available to investigators were shown to have consumed milkshakes at the hospital, which had been made with a single serving of a Blue Bell ice cream product called Scoops.
The listeria strain obtained from those four patients was linked, after laboratory testing, to tainted Blue Bell products examined in South Carolina and Texas this year…
The ice cream product eaten by all five has been traced to one of the production lines at Blue Bell headquarters in Brenham, Texas, where the machinery was immediately taken off line.
The chief executive of the Brenham creamery, Paul Kruse, said contamination of the ice cream could only have taken place at the point of production.
The company has removed a list of products from shelves and the CDC has called on the public to destroy any they have in their freezer, as the products have a shelf life of up to two years.
Blue Bell doesn’t make anything we consume in our family – we don’t especially eat ice cream; but, there are beaucoup places where the brand is so well established consumption is as much a tradition as a matter of taste.
RTFA for a listing of the kinds of ice cream products from Blue Bell that should be taken from your freezer and destroyed if you have any of them.