The Texas ice cream icon, Blue Bell Ice Cream, has issued its first ever recall after three people in Kansas died from illness linked back to some of its products. No one in Texas has been affected by illness at this point. Five people in total have been diagnosed with contracting the listeriosis bacteria. Only the products shown in the photo above have potentially been exposed and recalled.
In a conversation with Breitbart Texas, Blue Bell Advertising and Public Relations Manager Joe Robertson said their company was notified about four weeks ago that there was a potential problem. “A routine texting by a lab in South Carolina revealed the bacteria in some of our products,” Robertson said. “We isolated the products to one of our production machines and, in an overabundance of caution; we issued the recall for every product made on that machine.”
“Only three product lines were actually found to be contaminated,” he explained. “We decided to be extra careful and eliminate all of the products that are run on that machine.”
Robertson said they are permanently discontinuing those products and eliminating that machine. “This was a very small portion of our product line,” he stated.
The recall does not include any of the half-gallon products or any of our other products other than those which were recalled, Robertson said.
The federal Food and Drug Administration said listeria bacteria were found in samples of Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Country Cookies, Great Divide Bars, Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Cotton Candy Bars, Scoops, Vanilla Stick Slices, Almond Bars and No Sugar Added Moo Bars, according to an Associated Press article.
Blue Bell handles all of its own distribution and customer service, Blue Bell CEO Paul Kruse said in the AP article, so it moved to pull suspect products from shelves, as soon as it was alerted to the South Carolina contamination Feb. 13. Kruse did not suspect handling of those products after they left the Central Texas creamery.
“The only time it can be contaminated is at the time of production,” he said. That contamination has been traced to a machine that extrudes the ice cream into forms and onto cookies, and that machine remains off line, he said.
Blue Bell stated “When this was detected all products produced by this machine were withdrawn. Our Blue Bell team members recovered all involved products in stores and storage,” in a press release obtained by Breitbart Texas. “This withdrawal in no way includes our half gallons, quarts, pints, cups, three gallon ice cream or the majority of take-home frozen snack novelties.”
Blue Bell has been making ice cream products for 108 years. “This is the first ever recall in our history,” Robertson stated. “We certainly hope it will be the last.”
All products now on store and institution shelves are safe, Kruse said.
This article has been updated with additional content.
Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.