Blue Bell recalled products being accepted locally
Published 7:00 am Thursday, April 23, 2015
This week, the Mississippi State Department of Health released a warning to Mississippians concerning the consumption of Blue Bell’s ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snack products.
On April 20, the Brenham, Texas company voluntarily recalled all of its products currently on the market because they might be contaminated with listeria monocytogenes, which is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes deadly infections in young children, elderly people, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, a Blue Bell press release states.
Symptoms of listeria include fever, muscle aches and diarrhea, the MSDH release states.
“We’re committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe,” Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse said in the Blue Bell release. “We are heartbroken about this situation and apologize to all of our loyal Blue Bell fans and customers. Our entire history has been about making the very best and highest quality ice cream and we intend to fix this problem. We want enjoying ice cream to be a source of joy and pleasure, never a cause for concern, so we are committed to getting this right.”
The products are being recalled from retail outlets 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 and Wyoming, the Blue Bell release states.
Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s State Epidemiologist, said in the MSDH release there have been no reported cases of listeria related to Blue Bell products in the state.
“While we have no cases, it is important to remember if you have consumed the product recently and become ill, consult your healthcare provider at once,” Dobbs said in the MSDH release.
In the release, Blue Bell urges customers to return their products to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Claiborne Hill Assistant Manager Blanche Waters said the company picked up all their products Tuesday morning.
“We are issuing refunds to customers who bring in their products,” Waters said. “Our main phone calls have come from people who shop here on a regular basis. We keep track of how many products we issue refunds for and Blue Bell will reimburse us.”
Between Tuesday and Wednesday, Waters said about 50 products have been brought in.
“It doesn’t matter if the product has been opened or used,” Waters said. “We are issuing cash refunds, except for EBT cards. Refunds will be placed on the card.”
Jenny Vandorf, with Blue Bell’s public relations, said that by Wednesday there have no been other updates.
“There is no set time limit for refunds,” Vandorf said. “We will issue refunds as long as people continue to bring their products to stores.”
The company will be testing and holding all products before releasing them to the market, the Blue Bell release states.
In addition to that precaution, the company also plans to expand their system of daily cleaning and sanitizing of equipment, expand swabbing and testing plant environment system by 800 percent to include more surfaces, send samples daily to a leading microbiology lab for testing and provide additional employee training, the Blue Bell release states.
For more information, contact Blue Bell representatives by phone at 1-866-608-3940 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CST.
Visit the website www.bluebell.com for answers to frequently asked questions.
For more information about listeria visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov/listeria/definition.html.