FDA: Blue Bell products linked to deadly cases of listeriosis

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Saturday, March 14, 2015
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BRENHAM, TX -- The FDA has sent out an advisory for certain Blue Bell ice cream products made in Brenham that may be linked to several confirmed cases of listeriosis. Three cases reportedly resulted in deaths.

The illnesses were reported in Kansas, with the products coming from a single production line at the Blue Bell plant in Brenham. There have been no reported cases of listeriosis reported in Texas.

The affected products include the following novelty items.

  • Chocolate Chip Country Cookie
  • Great Divide Bar
  • Sour Pop Green Apple Bar
  • Cotton Candy Bar
  • Scoops
  • Vanilla Stick Slices
  • Almond Bar
  • No Sugar Added Mooo Bar (regular Mooo Bars are not included)

According to the CDC and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, five patients who were treated in a single hospital in Kansas were infected with one of four rare strains of Listeria monocytogenes. Three of these strains, which are highly similar, have also been found in products manufactured at the Blue Bell Creameries production facility in Brenham. Illness onset dates range from January 2014 to January 2015.

The hospital receives ice cream manufactured by Blue Bell Creameries, although it is not confirmed that the hospital receives ice cream only from the Brenham facility.

All five case are adults. Three deaths have been reported.

Blue Bell has stopped production and distribution of ice cream products from the production line and has removed them from stores and any other retail outlets. The advisory does not include Blue Bell cups, pints or half gallons.

Consumers are advised to not eat these items and should discard any of these products they may have in their freezers.

Symptoms of listeriosis can include fever, muscle aches, diarrhea and vomiting. People with these symptoms should consult a physician. Symptoms typically occur three to 70 days after exposure. The disease affects primarily older people, pregnant women, newborns and people with weakened immune systems.

Texas continues to work closely with the FDA and with Blue Bell Creameries to gather additional information and ensure the items have been removed from stores.

If you have questions about food safety, call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 9am and 3pm.

You can learn more about these cases of listeria here