Blue Bell ice cream has recalled all of its products after some samples of ice cream tested positive for listeria.
Consumers are being urged to either throw away any Blue Bell ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and other frozen treats or return them to the store for a full refund.
Five cases of listeriosis have been documented in Kansas and three cases have been reported in Texas.
Three deaths at a Kansas hospital were linked to ‘ice cream contaminated with listeria.’ However, a spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Health and Environment was careful to caution that the listeria was a contributing factor rather than the cause of the deaths.
Blue Bell products are sold in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming and internationally, according to a company press release.
My take on the Blue Bell Ice Cream debacle
A few days ago, our son had some Blue Bell ice cream. Today I got a worried call from my wife. Grant was not feeling well yesterday. He was kind of listless and felt nauseous. So my wife got very concerned.
The fact that the food we eat could be contaminated — be it meat, vegetables, fruit, ice cream — is enough to upset anyone. Blue Bell has been around for 100 years and this is the greatest crisis in the company’s history. But it is just a company; what matters are the people and what happens to them if they get ill from a food-borne illness.
Here’s the reality: First, Blue Bell has done everything as they should in the aftermath of this news. The CEO has done a video expressing deep remorse about the health problems. He’s been very direct about it and very clearly taken responsibility.
I get so fed up with the playbook in corporate America where companies will do what amounts to a non-apology apology. That has not been the case here. In an era when nobody trusts institutions, they did it right.
Second, Blue Bell shut down all plants and are going through a full protocol to make sure their equipment is properly decontaminated.
Third, more and more companies are getting on board with a new method of food chain supply where foods are packaged and held. So after the items are produced, they will be tested before they’re shipped to your grocery store. This is something Costco does with the food supplies coming to their stores. So the wonderful thing is that our food supply is on the cusp of getting a whole lot safer.
The reality, as I said to my wife, is that the danger to our son or to anybody else is very low. Even if somebody is exposed to listeria, it’s very rare they will die from it.
So I know the Blue Bell thing is concerning, but this should not lead to panic. For Blue Bell, this crisis could destroy the company, but I suspect it won’t because they are doing the right things. So I expect their reputation will heal in time.