Blue Bell Creameries has issued a voluntary recall of all its products currently in stores around the United States and internationally. According to a press release, the company is concerned its products — which include ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, and frozen snacks — might be contaminated with Listeria, a serious and potentially deadly bacteria.
Listeria-tainted ice cream has been a recent ongoing problem for the company. The Washington Post notes that last month, Blue Bell issued its first recall in its 108-year history after ice cream contaminated with the bacteria "was linked to three deaths at a Kansas hospital and additional illnesses in Kansas and Texas." The New York Times writes that the contaminated products were traced to production plants in Texas and Oklahoma by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The recall affects products sold in stores in nearly two dozen states, including Arizona, Kentucky, Ohio, and more.
Paul Kruse, Blue Bell's CEO and president, apologized in a video on the company's website, adding in a written statement: "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." Kruse notes in the press release that the company "cannot say with certainty how Listeria was introduced" into Blue Bell's production facilities.
Listeria can cause fatal infections in children, elderly people, and others with weak immune systems. It can also cause miscarriages and stilbirths in pregnant women. In healthy individuals, the bacteria can cause symptoms like high fever, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
2015 has been quite the year for recalls. Last month, prepared foods brand Amy's Kitchen issued a recall of some of its products out of fear they might be contaminated with Listeria as well. Just a few days before that, Kraft recalled 242,000 boxes of its popular Macaroni & Cheese because they may have contained small pieces of metal.