CDC: Blue Bell Listeria Threat May Date to 2010
We know that Brenham, Texas-based ice cream company Blue Bell Creameries has been dealing with a Listeria outbreak for almost two months – one that has been linked to at least three deaths and ten illnesses across four states. So far, the exact source of the contamination has not been determined, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is suggesting that the issue with Blue Bell may go back for at least five years.
In a statement, the CDC warned consumers to not eat any Blue Bell products, and they asked that institutions and retailers not serve or sell their products after Blue Bell facilities in Texas and Oklahoma were found to be contaminated. But genetic testing of the plants shows that they may have been contaminated as far back as 2010.
According to the CDC’s statement, disease detectives who have been investigating three recent Listeria deaths at a Kansas hospital have discovered that genetic testing has linked the current strains to six other cases of listeria, dating back as far as 2010, that occurred in Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona. They conducted some modern, whole-genome sequencing and found that the genetic sequence strongly matched that of six old Listeria cases, despite the fact that the ice cream had been made very recently.
While some of the bacteria matched that found in the Kansas patients, one sample did not, which led the CDC to determine that at least two strains of Listeria are involved in this outbreak; one from each of the two Blue Bell factories in Texas and Oklahoma. The agency notes that it’s unusual for an outbreak to go on this long, but it’s possible that not very many were sickened, so it raised fewer red flags until three people died in Kansas.
As it announced its latest recall, Blue Bell officials announced that they would hire microbiologists to work with CDC investigators on finding out what happened and that they plan to expand their current cleaning and sanitation processes and systems.
This is why it’s important to follow food recalls exactly and to investigate every aspect of a contamination like this. This may have been going on for a long time, but few became really sick, so few actually noticed until three people died.
If you have any Blue Bell product, follow the recall and return them to the store as soon as possible. If you or a loved has felt sick and you believe the illness may have been caused by Blue Bell products, see a doctor first, and then contact the experienced and skilled Texas Food Poisoning Injury Lawyer at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible so you can protect your rights.