BRENHAM, Texas — The FDA has issued an advisory after five cases of listeriosis were linked to Blue Bell ice cream products from the production facility in Brenham.
All five patients ate the ice cream while being treated at a single 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. Everything out there is fine,” said Blue Bell CEO Paul Kruse.
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 and 2014 and there have been two reported in 2015. None of the cases has been linked to ice cream, but the investigation continues.
The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.