Federal investigators have stated that Blue Bell Creameries found evidence of Listeria monocytogenes in its Broken Arrow, Oklahoma plant as far back as 2013 but failed to take the appropriate actions to prevent contamination.
About the Listeria Contamination
According to the Houston Chronicle the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the results of an investigation into the Blue Bell listeria outbreak. The results indicate Blue Bell was following inadequate sanitation procedures even after finding evidence of listeria contamination in the Oklahoma factory.
Among the items found to be “presumptive positive” for listeria were floors, pallets, and other non-food-contact surfaces.
Additionally, investigators found water condensation inside the plant dripped into containers of frozen sherbet during production and evidence that the condensation may have dripped into ice cream mix.
The inspectors also noted that Blue Bell had detected coliform bacteria in finished products.
Listeriosis Statistics and Information
The following information was provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Roughly 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths are caused by listeriosis in the U.S. every year.
- The largest recorded outbreak recorded in the United States occurred in 2011 with 147 illnesses, 33 deaths, and 1 miscarriage.
- The deadly 2011 outbreak was linked to the consumption of cantaloupe from a single farm.