Federal regulators say they’re now aware of ten listeria illnesses linked to ice cream and other products made by Brenham-based Blue Bell Creameries over the last five years.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that two more illnesses have been confirmed in Oklahoma and Arizona. The agency had previously reported eight illnesses from Kansas and Texas, including three deaths in Kansas. The CDC says those sickened fell ill between January 2010 and January 2015.
Blue Bell recalled all of its products late Monday, after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria bacteria. The move follows a more-limited recall earlier this month.
Jay Neal teaches food safety at the University of Houston’s Hilton School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. He says that, whatever the recall costs Blue Bell, “it’s a lot cheaper than to have to pay for medical bills if someone dies. You know, it’s going to cost them millions, but they’ll be able to survive. They’re going to keep their business. If they start having additional deaths associated with the disease, that’s where you can’t recover.”
The recall includes ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks distributed in 23 states and abroad.
Consumers with questions can call Blue Bell at 866-608-3940 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Central Time and Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. CDT. Additional information is available from the Texas Department of State Health Services.