Health Department Imposes $850K Fine On Blue Bell For Listeria Outbreak, Company Only Paying $175K For Now

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The state health department in Texas has taken an unusual step in while punishing Blue Bell Creameries for manufacturing and distributing Listeria-laden ice cream: The state has imposed an $850,000 fine on the company for the Listeria contamination in ice cream that sent 12 customers to the hospital and is blamed for the deaths of three people who were served the ice cream while in the hospital for pre-existing conditions.

Don’t think that Blue Bell is out of legal trouble: this just clears the company’s issues with the state health department. Potential criminal charges from the state and federal governments are still pending.

The measures imposed on the company include a requirement to test every batch for bacteria before shipment, paying for an independent sanitation expert to check its facilities, and immediately notifying the health department if Listeria turns up in any finished products, in any ingredients, or on any surfaces that come in contact with products.

The company will have to pay the first $175,000 of the fine now, and owe the remaining $675,000 only if it’s caught violating any of the terms of the agreement.

The massive recall and plant shut down led to widespread panic in 23 states, especially the brand’s home state of Texas. Stubborn customers held on to their Blue Bell stashes and kept eating them, and the brand’s fiercely loyal fans have followed its return to different markets across the country.

State health department fines Blue Bell $850,000 following Listeria outbreak [Dallas Morning News]
Texas penalizes Blue Bell for listeria outbreak [Houston Chronicle]

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