It's in the popcorn, in the caramel apples, and now it's in the ice cream. It appears that Listeria monocytogenes has some pretty great tastes, seeing as how it has infected all of our favorite treats. And now, in what happens to be the company's first recall in a successful 108-year history, a new outbreak of Listeriosis has caused Blue Bell Creameries to take its ice cream off of the shelves.
Not entirely uncommon in recent months, Listeriosis is a bacterial infection caused by eating food contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, spokespersons with the CDC say. In general the symptoms are very similar to bouts of the influenza, the only good news being that it can be treated with antibiotics unlike viral infections. Though not often lethal, in serious cases patients can die from complications with the bacteria, namely dehydration caused by the massive loss of fluids from the body.
News of the recall surfaced this week after health officials with the US Food and Drug Administration confirmed that three patients at a Kansas hospital died after eating Blue Bell Creamery ice cream tainted with listeria. Now health officials have sourced the outbreak to products made on a single production line in a plant in Brenham, Texas. And while the deaths occurred two months ago, with only two patients continuing to suffer with Listeriosis, the company has voluntarily recalled its products to protect its consumers.
As listeria bacteria was found in Blue Bell Creameries' No Sugar Added Mooo Bars, Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Great Divide Bars, Vanilla Stick Slices, Almond Bars and single-serving Chocolate Chip Country Cookie Sandwiches they will be the only products removed from shelves. But Blue Bell Creameries says that its other products remain safe to eat and on the shelves.
"This withdrawal in no way includes our half gallons, quarts, pints, cups, three-gallon ice cream or the majority of take-home frozen snack novelties" spokespersons with Blue Bell say.
What's so strange about this case?
Ironically enough, four of the five patients who were infected may have been infected while being treated for other health related problems. While their identities have not been releseaed, health officials with the CDC indicate that their findings "strongly suggest their infections were acquired in the hospital." How could they possibly been infected while in the hospital, one might ask? It turns out that all victims drank milkshakes made with a single-serving of Blue Bell's Scoops ice cream distributed only to the hospital. And bacterial cultures indicate that it was covered in Listeria monocytogenes.