BRENHAM, Texas (AP) — Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries issued a voluntary recall Monday night for all of its products on the market after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeriosis.
The company “can’t say with certainty” how the bacteria was introduced to the manufacturing line, Blue Bell’s chief executive Paul Kruse said in a statement.
“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,” Kruse said.
The first recall in the family-owned creamery’s 108-year history was issued last month after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked ice cream contaminated with listeriosis to three deaths at a Kansas hospital. Five others in Kansas and Texas were sickened with the disease.
The foodborne illness was tracked to a production line in Brenham, Texas, and later to a second line in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
The recall extends to retail outlets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming and international locations.
A manufacturing facility in Oklahoma where operations were suspended earlier this month for sanitizing will remain closed as Blue Bell continues to investigate the source of the bacteria, the statement said.
Blue Bell is also implementing a process to test all of its products before releasing them to the market.
Listeriosis is a serious infection usually caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.
The disease primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns and adults with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.
Symptoms begin from three to 70 days after consuming the bacteria.
Anyone who believes they may have become ill with listeriosis should contact their health care provider.
Blue Bell expects to resume distribution soon on a limited basis once it is confident in the safety of its product.
Consumers who have purchased these items are urged 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., Saturday 10 a.m.– 2 p.m. CST or go to bluebell.com.
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