Although all Blue Bell products are still out of the market and the notice persists advising people not to consume the ice that left in their refrigerators, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a final report on the listeria contamination outbreak caused by the ice cream packaging.
The product contamination with the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria from the four Blue Bell factories sickened 10 people who were hospitalized between January 2010 and January 2015, of which three died.
“The investigation of this outbreak has ended,” the scientists wrote in the CDC report. “However, people can continue getting sick because the products may still be in their refrigerators and uninformed consumers might eat them. Institutions should not serve them and retailers must not sell the products withdrawn from the market.”
In March researchers found that several Blue Bell products were being served in hospitals and the case of a customer who bought the ice cream in a store caused the scandal, leading the company to close its factory in Brenham, Texas, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and Sylacaufa, Alabama, and withdraw their products from the market on 20 April.
“We are 100% committed to doing the right thing and the best way to do this is to remove all of our products on the market to be sure that everyone is safe,” stated in a press release Paul Kruse, CEO and President of Blue Bell.
The first case of listeria that is now attributed to Blue Bell was reported in 2010, but there was no connection between that first patient and the ice cream company until a routine test by the Department of Health and Environmental Control in South Carolina discovered the bacteria in two products’ samples at the company’s distribution center in February.
During the course of March and April, listeria was found by the CDC in three different Blue Bell factories and a private laboratory confirmed it on June 4, about two months after the company withdrew its products from shelves, while they work in fulfilling security requirements necessary to reopen.