Blue Bell Expands Recall Again After Tests Find Listeria Bacteria In Additional Products

The latest testing of Blue Bell products found Listeria monocytogenes in the company's pint-size banana pudding-flavored ice cream.

The latest testing of Blue Bell products found Listeria monocytogenes in the company’s pint-size banana pudding-flavored ice cream.

It appears that grocers who removed all Blue Bell Creameries’ products from their shelves earlier this week may have had the right idea, as the ice cream company once again expanded the scope of its recall after further testing found a link between additional products and an outbreak of listeriosis.

The third expansion of Blue Bell’s recall comes after testing of products produced at a temporarily closed production facility in Broken Arrow, OK, found Listeria monocytogenes in pints of Banana Pudding Ice Cream pints, the Food & Drug Administration reports.

As a precaution, Blue Bell says it will recall all products produced at the facility from February 12 to March 27.

In all, the expanded recall covers ice cream pints in flavors such as butter crunch, mint chocolate chip, cookies ‘n cream, homemade vanilla, dutch chocolate and moo-ilennium crunch; three-ounce cups, pints and quarts of rainbow, orange, and mixed berry sherbet; as well as half gallons of homemade vanilla, pistachio and vanilla light ice cream.

Consumers should check the bottom of their ice cream containers for a code that would link their product to a specific Blue Bell Plant. [CDC]

Consumers should check the bottom of their ice cream containers for a code that would link their product to a specific Blue Bell Plant. [CDC]

The recently recalled products can all be identified by a code date on the bottom of the containers ending in either “S” or “T.”

Products being recalled are currently sold at retail outlets including food service accounts, convenience stores and supermarkets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming.

So far, the FDA says it knows of no illnesses linked to the newest recalled ice cream products.

Blue Bell’s expanded recall comes just days after several major retailers, including Walmart, Kroger and H-E-B announced they would pull all items produced at the Broken Arrow facility from the sales floor. In some instances, the retailers pulled all Blue Bell products regardless of their manufacture location.

At the time, a spokesperson for Blue Bell said the company understood the retailers’ decision to stop selling the treats.

Blue Bell previously recalled several ice cream items in mid-March after tests linked the products to an outbreak of listeriosis that sickened five people in Kansas, three of whom later died.

A joint investigation found that certain Blue Bell brand ice cream products are the likely source of some or all of the people’s illnesses.

The five people who became ill in Kansas were confirmed to be infected with one of four strains of Listeria monocytogenes. All five people – older in age – were hospitalized at the same hospital for unrelated problems before developing invasive listeriosis, suggesting they were infected at the hospital, the CDC reports.

Investigators say the illnesses began between January 2014 and January 2015. Although some of the illnesses began more than a year ago, the listeria cluster identified earlier this month shows that some of the infections are indistinguishable, meaning they are likely from the same source.

Of the patients infected, four consumed milkshakes made with a single serving Blue Bell brand ice cream called Scoops while they were in the hospital.

Recalled products included three-ounce chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream cups with tab lids served in institutional and food service areas, such as hospitals. The original recall also included widely sold products such as Scoops, Chocolate Chip Country Cookies, Great Divide Bars, Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Cotton Candy Bars, Vanilla Stick Slices, Almond Bars and No Sugar Added Moo Bars.

Here’s a full list of the latest Blue Bell recalled products and the identifiable codes:

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Blue Bell Creameries Expands Recall of Products Produced in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma Due to Possible Health Risk [FDA]