Health officials in Kansas have linked five cases of listeriosis to a handful of ice cream products from the Brenham-based Blue Bell Creameries.
Blue Bell ice cream (cups, pints and half gallons) is not affected, but lab tests discovered the presence of listeria monocytogenes in three products — Country Cookie, Great Divide and Scoops — from one of the production lines in Brenham, about two hours from Austin. Blue Bell has already removed these products from stores, but the products could still be in consumers’ fridges.
The FDA has issued an advisory, and here is the full release from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services about the situation.
The FDA today issued a consumer advisory about certain Blue Bell ice cream products made in Texas. The notice was issued after several confirmed cases of Listeriosis in Kansas were linked to products made on a single production line at the Blue Bell Creameries plant in Brenham.
Blue Bell has stopped production and distribution of ice cream products from that line and has removed them from stores and any other retail outlets. The advisory does not include Blue Bell cups, pints or half gallons. The affected products include the following novelty items made on the line:
- Chocolate Chip Country Cookie
- Great Divide Bar
- Sour Pop Green Apple Bar
- Cotton Candy Bar
- Vanilla Stick Slices
- Almond Bar
- No Sugar Added Mooo Bar (regular Mooo Bars are not included)
Consumers should not eat these items and should discard any of these products they may have in their freezers.
Recent laboratory tests of three ice cream products from the Brenham production line – Country Cookie, Great Divide and Scoops – indicated the presence of Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium that can cause severe illness. The company is calling back additional ice cream items because they were made on the same production line.
Symptoms of Listeriosis can include fever, muscle aches, diarrhea and vomiting. People with these symptoms should consult a physician. Symptoms typically occur three to 70 days after exposure. The disease affects primarily older people, pregnant women, newborns and people with weakened immune systems.
Listeriosis is required to be reported in Texas. No Texas cases have been reported in connection to any Blue Bell products. In 2014, Texas had 19 confirmed cases of Listeriosis. Texas has had two reported cases so far this year.
Blue Bell, headquartered in Brenham, has been licensed in Texas as a frozen dessert manufacturer since 1981, when the state enacted the frozen dessert licensing requirement. Texas inspects these facility types monthly. No enforcement action has been taken against the facility, and it is operating in compliance with food safety laws.
Texas continues to work closely with the FDA and with Blue Bell Creameries to gather additional information and ensure the items have been removed from stores.