Blue Bell Creameries has issued yet another recall. This time, the recall has been expanded to include all of its products manufactured in all of its facilities. The voluntary recall comes after expanded testing of its product line. The new tests revealed the Listeria bacteria in one of its half-gallon containers of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream.
“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,” said Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and president in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “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.”
The contaminated ice cream was manufactured between March 17 and March 27 of this year. The test results indicate that Blue Bell has had contamination problems in multiple product lines from multiple manufacturing facilities. This has resulted in the voluntary effort to recall all of its products. The recall applies to all products currently on the market, and those made at all of its facilities. The recall covers ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks.
The Listeria monocytogenes is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, those who are frail or elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
“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.”
Going forward, Blue Bell is implementing a procedure called “test and hold” for all of its products. This will involve complete testing of products. Products will be held prior to shipment until all tests show that the products are safe.
Blue Bell representatives say that additional safety and testing procedures include:
- Expanding our already robust system of daily cleaning and sanitizing of equipment
- Expanding our system of swabbing and testing our plant environment by 800 percent to include more surfaces
- Sending samples daily to a leading microbiology laboratory for testing
- Providing additional employee training
The facility in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, will remained closed while Blue Bell continues its investigation. The Brenham, Texas, based company expects to resume distribution on a limited basis in the near future.
The statement urges Blue Bell consumers who have purchased these items to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. For more information, consumers with questions may call 1-866-608-3940, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. CST. They can also go to the company’s website at www.bluebell.com.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2