FDA Investigates Listeria monocytogenes in Ice Cream Products from Blue Bell Creameries

According to the CDC 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 rare strains of Listeria monocytogenes.

Three of these strains, which are highly similar, have also been found in products manufactured at the Blue Bell Creameries production facility in Brenham, Texas. Illness onset dates range from January 2014 to January 2015.

FDA was notified that these three strains and four other rare 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 February 12, 2015. These products are manufactured at Blue Bell Creameries’ Brenham facility.

The Texas Department of State Health Services, subsequently, collected product samples from the Blue Bell Creameries Brenham facility. These 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.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, hospital records available for four patients show that all were served ice cream from Blue Bell Creameries’ prepackaged, single-serving products and milkshakes made from these products. The hospital receives ice cream manufactured by Blue Bell Creameries, although it is not confirmed that the hospital receives ice cream only from the Brenham facility.

All five case patients are adults. Three deaths have been reported.

Blue Bell Creameries reports that it has removed the affected ice cream products from the market by picking it up directly from the retailers and hospital settings it serves. The company has also shut down the production line where the products were made.

Source: FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm438104.htm

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