Blue Bell Creameries is once again in the news for listeria concerns. The Texas-based company has issued a voluntary recall of nearly 2,000 cartons of ice cream after discovering traces of the bacteria. All of the cartons in question were produced at Blue Bell's plant in Sylacauga, Ala.
The recall totals 1,936 products and covers two flavors: half-gallon and pint-sized cartons of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and half-gallons of Cookie Two Step. The company says it discovered the presence of listeria in a cookie dough ingredient provided by a third-party supplier.
"No illnesses have been reported to date," reads the recall notice. "Blue Bell identified a potential problem through intensified internal testing and notified Aspen Hills. Aspen Hills then issued a voluntary recall of the products supplied to Blue Bell. Although our products in the marketplace have passed our test and hold program, which requires that finished product samples test negative for listeria monocytogenes, Blue Bell is initiating this recall out of an abundance of caution. This recall is being conducted in cooperation with the FDA."
The announcement comes less than two months after the Texas Department of State Health fined Blue Bell $850,000 for its role in a listeria outbreak last year. That episode resulted in 10 illnesses and three deaths, and Blue Bell was forced to completely halt its ice cream production. Nearly 1,500 employees were laid off, and another 1,400 were furloughed. Some former workers alleged the company's Brenham, Texas plant was unsafe and unsanitary.
The Centers for Disease Control says listeria primarily affects older adults, pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems. Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues.