The Food and Drug Administration has issued an advisory after five cases of listeria were linked to Blue Bell ice cream from the production facility in Brenham.
All five patients ate the ice cream while being treated at a hospital in Kansas between January 2014 and January 2015. Three of them died.
No one suspected the infection came from ice cream until four strains of listeria monocytogenes were found in Blue Bell products last month by the South Carolina Health Department.
The Texas Department of Health was notified and they collected product samples from the Brenham facility that turned up listeria monocytogenes.
The FDA notified health departments in other states.
The Kansas Department of Health did some investigating and learned that records for four of the five listeriosis patients show they were served Blue Bell ice cream products at the hospital.
Blue Bell Creameries reports that it has removed the affected ice cream products from the market and has shut down the production line where the products were made. These are the products affected:
— Chocolate Chip Country Cookie SKU #196.
— Great Divide Bar SKU #108.
— Sour Pop Green Apple Bar SKU #221.
— Cotton Candy Bar SKU # 216.
— Scoops SKU #117.
— Vanilla Stick Slices SKU #964.
— Almond Bars SKU #156.
— 6-pack Cotton Candy Bars SKU #245.
— 6-pack Sour Pop Green Apple Bars SKU #249.
— 12-pack No Sugar Added Mooo Bars SKU #343.
Consumers should not eat any of the products listed above. If these ice cream products are in your freezer, they should be thrown away, even if some of them have been eaten without anyone becoming ill.
The advisory does not include Blue Bell cups, pints or half gallons.
“Most of these are food service items and there’s none out there right now, so there should not be a concern,” Blue Bell CEO Paul Kruse said.
Listeriosis is a rare but serious illness that causes fever, muscle aches and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms. Symptoms can appear from a few days to a few weeks after eating contaminated food.
There were 19 cases of listeriosis in Texas in 2014 and two reported in 2015. None of the cases has been linked to ice cream, but the investigation continues.
SOURCE: KHOU-TV, Houston