WASHINGTON – Blue Bell Creameries is recalling several frozen snack varieties due to Listeria contamination and that have been linked to three deaths at a hospital in Kansas. The products were manufactured at a plant in Brenham, Texas, and the company said it had identified the machine that was the source of the contamination.
“When this was detected, all products produced by this machine were withdrawn,” the company said in a statement. “Our Blue Bell team members recovered all involved products in stores and storage. This withdrawal in no way includes our half gallons, quarts, pints, cups, three-gallon ice cream or the majority of take-home frozen snack novelties.”
Products included in the recall include such varieties as no-sugar-added Mooo Bars, Cotton Candy Bars, Sour Pops, Great Divide Bars, Almond Bars, Country Cookie ice cream sandwiches, pre-wrapped Scoops and pre-wrapped Vanilla Stick Slices. All products are sold under the Blue Bell brand.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, five patients who were treated in a single hospital in Kansas were infected with one of four strains of Listeria monocytogenes. Three of the strains, which are similar, also were found in products manufactured at Blue Bell’s manufacturing plant in Brenham. Illness onset dates range from January 2014 to January 2015.
The Food and Drug Administration was notified the three strains and four other strains of Listeria monocytogenes were found in samples of Blue Bell Creameries single serving Chocolate Chip Country Cookie Sandwich and the Great Divide Bar ice cream products collected by the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control during routine product sampling at a South Carolina distribution center on Feb. 12, 2015. The products are manufactured at Blue Bell’s Brenham plant.
The Texas Department of State Health Services subsequently collected product samples from the Texas plant. The samples yielded Listeria monocytogenes from the same products tested by South Carolina and a third single-serving ice cream product, Scoops, which is also made on the same production line.
Hospital records available for four of the patients at the hospital in Kansas show that all were served ice cream from Blue Bell Creameries’ prepackaged, single-serving products and milkshakes made from the products. The hospital received ice cream manufactured by Blue Bell Creameries, although it is not confirmed that the hospital receives ice cream only from the Brenham plant, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.