The Brenham, Texas plant is just one of the locations under scrutiny from recent listeria outbreak.
Last spring Blue Bell Creameries recalled all of its frozen products from freezers in stores across 23 states after listeria was found on the lid of a food service cup. Since the recall, 10 people have become sick from this listeria contamination and three of those have died.
In August, Blue Bell started reintroducing its products back into Texas stores for consumers to enjoy as part of a gradual re-entry plan. This reintroduction follows the company insisting that all of its products are being tested for listeria before they leave the plant. Recently, the Brenham, Texas plant even released a statement stating that they have identified possible areas where listeria may be and they are working to make sure that those areas are kept sanitized. However, they also stated that there is no way for any company to completely remove it from their plant:
“Because Listeria is commonly found in the natural environment, no manufacturer can ever assume it can be entirely eradicated. We have worked closely with our expert team of microbiologists to develop an enhanced, robust testing system specifically designed for each facility to identify any possible presence of Listeria in the production environment, including extensive environmental testing and testing every single batch of ice cream we make before it is sold to customers.
We are pleased that our enhanced environmental and product testing procedures are working. We have identified locations where suspected Listeria species may be present in our facility, and we continue to extensively clean and sanitize those areas and make additional enhancements to the facility and our procedures based on the environmental test results. To confirm that our robust environmental program is effective, and that our “seek and destroy” goals are being achieved, we expect to periodically find microbiological indications in our facilities. Since our plants reopened, we have tested and will continue to test every batch of ice cream produced, and no products produced have tested positive for Listeria.”
More Listeria Contamination Than Reported?
Are Blue Bell’s sanitation efforts a case of too little too late?
While this seemed like an isolated incident, the Centers of Disease Control says that their investigation into this outbreak shows that this contamination issue has actually been going on since 2010. That’s five years of people being exposed to listeria that can be linked back to Blue Bell.
At the beginning of the month, CNN reported that the U.S. Department of Justice now has Blue Bell Creameries under criminal investigation to investigate whether there was any wrongdoing in how the company executives handled this event.
Symptoms of Listeria
Listeria usually just shows up with flu-like symptoms in those that are normally healthy, but can be fatal to others. Symptoms include:
Loss of balance
Who is at Risk?
People with weakened immune systems
If you or a loved one have been sick from listeria as a result of a product from Blue Bell Creameries or from some other food made from raw milk or from processed meat , contact The Callahan Law Firm for a free case evaluation.