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Blue Bell Creamery Recall


After weeks of uncertainty about the source and extent of contamination, on April 20, 2015, Blue Bell Creameries recalled all of its products. So began the removal of eight million gallons of ice cream products, including frozen yogurt, sherbet, frozen treats, and of course, ice cream, from stores and retail establishments in twenty-three states. Blue Bell estimates that the recall will take two to three weeks to complete, and a minimum of another two to three weeks will be required to re-stock shelves that are emptied. Blue Bell Creameries is a century-old company that held 6.4% of the U.S. ice cream market in 2014; with 881 million in sales, it is the third largest ice cream manufacturer in the country.


The reason for the massive recall is that the Centers for Disease Control has linked three deaths and ten illnesses to Listeria believed to have come from Blue Bell products. The illnesses and deaths occurred over a five-year period, from 2010-2015, in Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Listeria is a bacteria that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children and others with weak immune systems. In the United States, an estimated 1,600 people become seriously ill with Listeria every year, and approximately 16% of those cases result in death. The symptoms are a high fever, severe headache, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Although it is not as common, Listeria can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths when contracted in pregnant women.

While the origin of the Listeria bacteria is unknown, the source of the transmission to the infected people is now believed to have been Blue Bell ice cream products. The reason it took so long to trace the source is because Listeria is not normally associated with ice cream and frozen foods; it is more commonly seen in processed meats and unpasteurized cheeses and milk. Listeria has been found in fruit in recent years, as in the outbreak in cantaloupes in 2011 which was linked to thirty deaths.

Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse has said that his company is instituting new safety measures that include more extensive cleaning and sanitizing of equipment; increased swabbing and testing of facility surfaces by 800%; more employee training; and sending samples for testing on a daily basis.


Georgia is one of the twenty-three states in which Blue Bell Creameries distributes and sells its products, and Georgia school districts are among its customers. While the school districts have not been required to discard Blue Bell products as of this writing, some have voluntarily stopped serving the products. The Metro-Atlanta school system in Cobb County removed all Blue Bell products after the April 20 recall announcement by the company.


If you have questions concerning the Blue Bell Creameries recall, or if you have fallen ill and believe it may be due to a Blue Bell ice cream product, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm.

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