This week the iconic Texas Ice creamery Blue Bell announced a mandatory recall of all it’s frozen dessert products over concerns of contamination by the potentially deadly bacteria Listeria. This is the second recall for Blue Bell in less than a month. It follows an initial March recall due to Listeria found in half-gallon containers of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream produced March 17 and March 27.
Publix, our regions largest grocery chain with 763 stores in Florida alone, issued immediate orders to all its stores to destroy all Blue Bell ice cream. Other grocery chains across the southeast have issued similar orders to destroy all products produced by Blue Bell, the Nation’s third-largest manufacturer of ice cream.
According to Dr. Robert Tauxe, of the Center for Disease Control, the cause of listeria outbreaks is almost always dirty equipment. The pathogen occurs naturally in soil and water and could have been introduced by animal feces, soil being tracked into the plant, or something as simple as employees not washing their hands. The bacteria is troublesome because it can grow in warm and cold temperatures and can last forever if not discovered and cleaned up.
Listeriosis primarily affects pregnant women and their newborns, older adults and people with immune systems weakened by cancer, cancer treatments, or other serious conditions. With its large population of retiree’s, this pathology is cause for extreme concern in Florida.
Symptoms and signs of Listeria infection are;
- nausea and vomiting
- abdominal pain
- back pain
- and diarrhea
If you have consumed a suspected contaminated product and are exhibiting any of these symptoms, you should consult a physician immediately. According to the CDFC, the disease has a case-fatality rate of 21 percent.
The first reported illnesses that caused the limited recall of Blue Bell ice cream were tracked to a production line in Brenham, Texas, the company’s headquarters. Further discoveries of the bacteria were discovered in another facility in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Mondays total recall was initiated after samples from another production line in Brenham tested positive.
Many health department officials are now reopening and looking at previous listeriosis cases to discover if they could be linked to Blue Bell.
Along with Florida, this recall extends to retail outlets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming and international locations.