BRENHAM, Texas (KXAN) — Blue Bell is voluntarily recalling all of its products currently on the market made at all of its facilities. The ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks are being pulled because they may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause death.
“We’re committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe,” said Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and president. “We are heartbroken about this situation and apologize to all of our loyal Blue Bell fans and customers. Our entire history has been about making the very best and highest quality ice cream and we intend to fix this problem. We want enjoying our ice cream to be a source of joy and pleasure, never a cause for concern, so we are committed to getting this right.”
According to our sister station KXAN, the decision to remove all products from store shelves comes after a test showed Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream half gallons produced on March 17, 2015, and March 27, 2015, contained the bacteria. The company says several positive tests for Listeria have now been reported at multiple plants, including ones in Brenham, Texas, and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and three patients have been treated in Texas, in addition to five cases in Kansas.
“At every step, we have made decisions in the best interest of our customers based on the evidence we had available at the time,” Kruse said. “At this point, we cannot say with certainty how Listeria was introduced to our facilities and so we have taken this unprecedented step. We continue to work with our team of experts to eliminate this problem.”
The products are being recalled in 23 states, including Texas, and also in international locations.
Blue Bell says they will now implement a “test and hold” procedure, making sure all products are tested and safe before being released to the market. Additional cleaning and sanitizing measures, daily testing at a microbiology lab and more training for employees will also be instituted.
The company said their Broken Arrow facility will remain closed as their investigation continues.
Listeria is particularly dangerous for young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. It can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.