Blue Bell Ice Cream Bacterium Causes Three Deaths, So Far

Blue Bell

After 108 years of business, Blue Bell issued its first ice cream recall due to three deaths in Kansas believed to be caused by bacterium. So far, only the three deaths have occurred, and all in the same location. But eight products were temporarily stopped nationwide, due to the fear that the products were tainted. The FDA issued a recall on those products Friday, urging people to avoid eating the products on the list, and seek medical treatment if they had experienced symptoms of Listeria, a foodborne illness that can live in water, animals, and foods made with raw milk. Though statements made by Blue Bell reflect that the problem has been contained, the FDA is still warning people to look out for symptoms.

Five adults recently became sick with symptoms relating to listeriosis. All five adults supposedly sought treatment for their symptoms but now three of the five have died, recently. This prompted a recall by Blue Bell Creameries over products that could have related to the disease. It was believed that all five of the adults ate the Blue Bell ice cream before becoming sick. According to Slate, the five adults all became sick sometime between January of 2014 and January of 2015. This is a wide range of time, leaving some to believe that there is no longer cause to be concerned. But after three deaths, action had to be taken.

Blue Bell recalled eight products from their line, temporarily stopping them until the situation was handled. The products recalled were the great divide bar, the chocolate chip country cookie, the cotton candy bar, the sour pop green apple bar, vanilla stick slices, the almond bar, the no sugar added mooo bar, and scoops ice cream. Though it is unknown exactly when the products may have been contaminated, the FDA is still urging people to avoid eating these Blue Bell ice cream products.

Blue Bell has issued statements that they believe the situation is contained. They said that one of the machines used had a potential listeria problem, but only produced a limited number of frozen snacks. After they determined which machine was believed to be the one contaminated, Blue Bell officials stated that all products made by that machine, that were still on hand, were pulled, and all production from the machine stopped.

As well, information on the five patients has lead the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to believe that the disease may have been contracted from Blue Bell “scoops” ice cream served at the hospital. All five patients were supposedly seeking medical care at the same hospital in Kansas, Via Christi St. Francis. The CDC released a statement reflecting their belief that the five adults contracted the disease while in the hospital. All Blue Bell ice cream products have been removed from Via Christi St. Francis, and other hospitals have taken action as well, to avoid further contamination.

The Blue Bell ice cream bacterium has caused three deaths, so far, but the CDC, the FDA and Blue Bell creameries are certain that the situation is being handled quickly and efficiently. Some of the symptoms of Listeria include fever, muscle aches, and diarrhea, though these symptoms can also be caused by other things. The FDA suggests that anyone experiencing any symptoms should seek medical treatment. Symptoms can develop within a few days or weeks. Blue Bell has stopped distribution of the eight products that may have possibly been contaminated. Once the bacterium outbreak is completely controlled, Blue Bell will begin releasing the products onto shelves again.

By Crystal Boulware


Wall Street Journal

Photo Source:

Dave 77459 – Creativecommons Flickr License

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