Ice-cream maker Blue Bell Creameries has issued a recall of all of its products, citing possible listeria contamination.
The voluntary recall goes for all Blue Bell ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and other frozen snacks.
“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, in a written statement. “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,” Kruse continued. “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.”
The company, based in Brenham, Texas, said the problem was caught by its own sampling program. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough half-gallon containers produced on March 17 and March 27 were found to contain the bacteria. That was on top of previous findings on several dates at several different Blue Bell locations that had lead to partial recalls.
Five people in Kansas and three in Texas have been treated for listeria possibly related to eating Blue Bell products, the company said.
Listeria monocytogenes is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy people may suffer short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
Blue Bell says it is implementing a strategy called “test and hold.” All new batches of ice cream and other products will be tested after they are made and only released after tests show they are clear of listeria.
“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.”
Anyone who has bought Blue Bell products my return them to the place of purchase for a refund. For more information, consumers may call 1-866-608-3940 or go to bluebell.com.
Image via iStock.