Another listeria outbreak has caused Blue Bell Creameries to pull all of its frozen dessert products off shelves for fear it might be contaminated with bacteria that can cause stomach illness.
Ten illnesses have been linked to Blue Bell, including three deaths in Kansas. The latest tests show that the half-gallons of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream produced on two dates in March contained listeria.
The company said, “This means Blue Bell has now had several positive tests for Listeria in different places and plants. At this point, we cannot say with certainty how Listeria was introduced to our facilities, and so we have taken this unprecedented step.”
What is listeria? It is a bacteria that causes severe stomach illness in patients who are usually very young or old in age. However, anyone with a weakened immune system can become severely ill.
It causes about 1,600 infections a year and three to four outbreaks a year in the U.S. Of those, about 260 deaths have occurred, which is far fewer than those linked to salmonella, another foodborne illness.
If you have eaten a product that has been recalled and you have no symptoms, you should not worry. However, if symptoms develop over the next few weeks, see your doctor.