Blue Bell Creamery has again recalled hundreds of containers of ice cream, almost exactly a year after completely halting production over fears its products might be contaminated with Listeria. Yesterday, the company announced it was voluntarily recalling all cookie dough products due to the potential for them to contain Listeria, a dangerous and sometimes fatal bacteria.
The company says no illnesses have been reported to date, and it is issuing the recall out of “an abundance of caution.” Blue Bell initiated a smaller recall of products containing cookie dough in September, though this latest recall extends to products distributed in 16 states. Two flavors are subject to the recall: half-gallon and pint-sized cartons of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and half-gallons of Cookie Two Step.
Meanwhile Blue Bell is still trying to clean up its act after the last massive recall. Health officials recently fined the ice cream company $850,000 for its role in the 2015 Listeria outbreak, which sickened 10 people and was tied to three deaths. Former Blue Bell employees alleged that the massive outbreak was preventable and that the plant was cutting corners when it came to sanitation.
Even after recalling all of its products and laying off 1,450 workers due to the 2015 Listeria concerns, Blue Bell continued finding bacteria in its facilities. Shortly after it made the announcement that Listeria species had been found, the U.S. Justice Department announced it would be investigating the company.
The food recall process is not simple and requires numerous steps, including ultimately removing food from shelves and disposing of it. Maybe it’s time to dig into some Ben & Jerry’s.