So far, 2015 has been a Rocky Road for Blue Bell. The 108-year-old ice cream company out of Brenham, Texas, has had to contend with listeria contamination cropping up in several of its products. Earlier this year, the CDC found a rare strain of listeria contamination in single-serving ice cream products very similar to the rare strain that caused listeriosis sickness in five patients in a Kansas hospital. Three deaths resulted. The strains were found in three product lines from a single machine in the company’s Brenham, Texas plant. Blue Bell immediately recalled the products and announced that they would be discontinued. Furthermore, the machine would be permanently shut down. Then, a few days ago, a second cluster of three listeriosis patients was connected with Blue Bell’s single serving ice cream cup produced at its Broken Arrow, Oklahoma facility. Blue Bell has reported that it has recalled all the products manufactured on the same line as the three single serving products found with contamination. The original product recall included: Chocolate Chip Country Cookie: SKU No. 196 Great Divide Bar: SKU No. 108 Sour Pop Green Apple Bar: SKU No. 221 Cotton Candy Bar: SKU No. 216 Scoops: SKU No. 117 Vanilla Stick Slices: SKU No. 964 Almond Bars: SKU No. 156 6 pack Cotton Candy Bars: SKU No. 245 6 pack Sour Pop Green Apple Bars: SKU No. 249 12 pack No Sugar Added Mooo Bars*: SKU No. 343 (Regular Mooo Bars, available in grocery stores, are unaffected, and remain safe) The second group of recalls involved the single serving ice cream cups: Ice Cream Cup Chocolate (3 FL OZ) No UPC – SKU #453 Ice Cream Cup Strawberry (3 FL OZ) No UPC – SKU #452 Ice Cream Cup Vanilla (3 FL OZ) No UPC – SKU #451
The expanded recall, including all products manufactured on the same line as the single-serving cups include: Ice Cream Pints: UPC # 071899-05101 5 Ice Cream Banana Pudding pint – 021217S Ice Cream Butter Crunch pint -021917S Ice Cream Mint Chocolate Chip pint- 022017S Ice Cream Cookies ‘n Cream pint – 030317S, 030617S Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla pint- 030417S Ice Cream Dutch Chocolate pint – 032317S Ice Cream Moo-llennium Crunch pint- 032417S, 032517S Sherbet Pint: UPC # 0 71899-19990 8 Rainbow Sherbet pint 021717S, 021817S, 022317S, 030217S Sherbet Quarts: UPC # 0 71899-18992 3 Orange Sherbet quart – 032617S Mixed Berry Sherbet quart – 032717S 3 ounce Tab Lid Cup: Product # 136 *Institutional / food service cup only Rainbow Sherbet – 022417S, 022617S, 022717S Gold Rim Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-03720 0 Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla half gallon – 030917T, 031017T, 031117T, 031217T, 031617T, 031717T, 031817T Brown Rim Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-83548 6 Ice Cream Pistachio Almond half gallon – 031317T Light Half Gallon: UPC # 0 71899-73501 4 Ice Cream Homemade Vanilla Light half gallon – 031917T Additionally, Blue Bell Creameries has reported that on April 4, 2015, that the firm 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. Listeriosis is a rare but serious illness caused by eating food contaminated with Listeria moncytogenes. Symptoms include fever and muscle aches, sometimes preceded by diarrhea or other gastrointestinal symptoms. Anyone who develops chills and fever after eating ice cream should seek medical care. Elderly people, newborns and those with weakened immune systems are especially at risk. The illness can cause miscarriage, stillbirth and premature labor among pregnant women. Consumers who have any of the recalled products in their freezers or refrigerators should throw them away immediately or take them back to the point of purchase. Listeria can grow and multiply even at refrigeration temperature, so the inside walls and shelves of refrigerators should be cleaned and sanitized with one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water. Cutting boards, countertops, dishes and utensils that may have come in contact with ice cream should be sanitized the same way. Continuing to wipe up refrigerator spills as they occur and cleaning out the fridge regularly will help curb the threat of food-borne illness, as will washing the hands with warm soapy water before handling any food items. The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time, or visit the website http://www.fda.gov(/defaulthtm).