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3 deaths prompt Blue Bell recall

DALLAS – The deaths of three people who developed a foodborne illness linked to some Blue Bell ice cream products has prompted the Texas icon’s first product recall in its 108-year history.

Five people in all developed listeriosis in Kansas after eating products from a production line at the Blue Bell creamery in Brenham, Texas, according to a statement Friday from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA says listeria bacteria were found in samples of Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Country Cookies, Great Divide Bars, Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Cotton Candy Bars, Scoops, Vanilla Stick Slices, Almond Bars and No Sugar Added Moo Bars.

Blue Bell says its regular Moo Bars were untainted, as were its half-gallons, quarts, pints, cups, three-gallon ice cream and take-home frozen snack novelties.

There appeared to be some uncertainty as to where the patients acquired the listeria bacterial infection.

According to a Friday statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all five people sickened were being treated for unrelated health issues at the same Kansas hospital before developing listeriosis, “a finding that strongly suggests their infections (with listeria bacteria) were acquired in the hospital,” the CDC said.

Of the five, four had consumed milkshakes made with a single-serving Blue Bell ice cream product called “Scoops” while in the hospital, the CDC said.

“Scoops,” as well as the other suspect Blue Bell items, are not produced for retail, said Paul Cruse, CEO of the Brenham creamery.

The CDC said the listeria isolated from specimens taken from four of the five patients at Via Christi St. Francis hospital in Wichita, Kansas, matched strains isolated from Blue Bell products obtained this year in South Carolina and Texas.




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