Blue Bell Ice Cream Recall and Food Poisoning

Ice cream

Yesterday, Blue Bell Creameries of Texas voluntarily recalled ALL of its products due to potential contamination with listeria monocytogenes.  Blue Bell has been experiencing problems with listeria monocytogenes since early March, 2015, and the problem has just continued to grow leading to yesterday’s global recall involving ice cream, sherbet, frozen yogurt and frozen snacks.

By way of background, the problem with Blue Bell ice cream was first detected in hospital settings.  Five patients in a Kansas hospital are believed to have contracted food poisoning as a result of eating Blue Bell pre-packaged, single serving ice creams and milkshakes.  In response, Blue Bell removed the affected products from the market place and shut down the production lines where those products were made.   Thereafter, listeria was also detected in Blue Bell 3-ounce single serving chocolate ice cream cups.  After state and federal authorities notified Blue Bell, a second recall was ordered for chocolate, strawberry and vanilla single serving cups due to the potential contamination.  This recall was confined to product sold to schools, nursing homes and hospitals.  It did not apply to ice cream cups sold in grocery stores, convenience stores and other retail outlets.  As part of this recall, Blue Bell shut down operations at it Oklahoma plant.  Thereafter, the investigation led to other products including the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream sold in half-gallon containers being recalled and finally culminated in yesterday’s global recall of all Blue Bell products.  Products sold and distributed in Tennessee are part of the recall.

Listeriosis is a serious and sometimes fatal illness caused by eating food contaminated with listeria monocytogenes.  In fact, it is the third leading cause of death from food poisoning   Listeria infects roughly 1600 people a year.  Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain and cramping and back pain. Listeriosis is especially dangerous to young children, the elderly, individuals with weakened immune systems and pregnant women.  Listeriosis can cause meningitis, septicemia, stillbirths and miscarriages.

To date, three people have died and five others have become ill due to contamination from listeria believed to have come from Blue Bell ice cream products.   To date, the individuals affected are in Texas and Kansas.  There have not been any reported cases in Tennessee.

If you or a loved one has become ill, and you suspect it is the result of any type of food poisoning, below are some immediate steps you should take:

  1. Seek medical treatment immediately and report your suspicions to your medical provider. A blood or stool test can confirm the presence of listeria;
  2. If you still have the product you believe is contaminated, preserve it as it should be stored so that it can be properly tested. For instance, if the suspected product is ice cream, be sure to keep the product in the freezer. If the suspected product is normally refrigerated, maintain it in the refrigerator properly sealed.
  3. Keep written documentation of the food and drinks you consumed within a 24 hour time period of eating the contaminated food.
  4. Notify your local health department and report the problem.

Then, if you injuries are serious, give us a call and one of our award-winning lawyers will review your food poisoning case, answer your questions and advise you of your rights.  Call us at 615-742-4880 (Nashville) or 615-867-9900 (Murfreesboro) or 866-812-8787 (toll-free) or contact us online for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.  We handle all food poisoning cases on a contingency basis.