Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Blue Bell Creamery Expands Recall, Suspends OK Operation

Blue Bell Creamery shut down their Oklahoma operation and expanded their recall in light of FDA test that indicated additional products produced on the same manufacturing line had Listeria.  As of 4/8/15, the CDC  reports that 8 individuals have become infected, 3 additional illnesses in Texas to those 5 that have already been reported in the hospital related illnesses that started the investigation.  A number of samples have been found to be positive for Listeria.

One question that can be asked is why all product from that production line was not recalled initially.   If a manufacturing line has contamination for Listeria, one can bet that the contamination will have a good likelihood of being in a little of all product produced on that manufacturing line.  Like so many other Listeria recalls that have occurred in the past, companies issue the first recall, and then a second and even third recall expanding the scope of the recall to eventually get all product produced in that facility.  

FDA Recall Notice
Blue Bell Creameries Expands Recall of Products Produced in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Due to Possible Health Risk

Contact:  Consumer: 979-836-7977
Media: Gene Grabowski 202-270-6560

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — April 7, 2015 — Brenham, TX — Blue Bell Creameries is expanding its recall of products that were produced in the Broken Arrow, Okla., plant to include Banana Pudding Ice Cream pints which tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, and additional products manufactured on the same line. These items have the potential to be young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria monocytogenes infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

The products being recalled are distributed to retail outlets, including food service accounts, convenience stores and supermarkets 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, and Wyoming.

No illnesses have been confirmed to date.

On April 3, 2015, Blue Bell Creameries voluntarily suspended operations at its Broken Arrow, Okla., plant to thoroughly inspect the facility due to a 3oz. institutional/food service chocolate cup that tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes and was immediately withdrawn from all outlets. That product was only available to Blue Bell’s food service and institutional accounts and was recalled along with 3oz. vanilla and strawberry institutional/food service cups.

On April 4, 2015, out of an abundance of caution, Blue Bell began working with retail outlets to remove all products produced in Broken Arrow, Okla., from their service area. These products are identified with a code date ending in O, P, Q, R, S or T located on the bottom of the carton and they are a part of the voluntary market withdrawal.

On April 7, 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notified Blue Bell that the Banana Pudding Ice Cream pint tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. This pint was produced in the Broken Arrow, Okla., plant on February 12, 2015. Subsequently Blue Bell is recalling all products made on that one particular production line, from February 12, 2015 – March 27, 2015. These products were produced on that same line and have a code date ending in either S or T.

Recalled products produced in Oklahoma are identified by the code date on the bottom of the carton.
For list of recalled products

CDC Update 4/8/15
 Multistate Outbreak of Listeriosis Linked to Blue Bell Creameries Products
Read the Advice to Consumers, Institutions, and Retailers>>(
Listeriosis is a life-threatening infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium (germ) Listeria monocytogenes. People at high risk for listeriosis include pregnant women, adults 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems.
CDC recommends that consumers do not eat any Blue Bell brand products made at the Oklahoma production facility, nor any recalled products, and that retailers and institutions not serve or sell them. Blue Bell has issued recent recalls of many products.
This is a complex and ongoing multistate outbreak of listeriosis occurring over an extended period. The outbreak now consists of two clusters involving people infected with outbreak strains of Listeria monocytogenes; eight people are reported from Kansas (5) and Texas (3).
Details about the two clusters are provided below in the April 8, 2015 Case Count Update.
Recent testing of product samples from the Blue Bell Creameries Oklahoma production facility identified Listeria monocytogenes strains in product sold at retail that were not included in the previous two recalls(, including a pint of banana pudding ice cream.
On April 3, 2015, Blue Bell Creameries reported that they had voluntarily suspended operations at the Oklahoma production facility.
On April 4, 2015, Blue Bell Creameries began working with retailers to remove all products made in the Oklahoma production facility from the market.
On April 7, 2015, Blue Bell Creameries announced a third product recall that includes banana pudding ice cream pints and other products made on the same production line in the Oklahoma production facility from February 12, 2015 to March 27, 2015.

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