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Iced: NOLA Retailers Pull Blue Bell

On Tuesday (4.21) morning, one freezer case at the French Quarter Rouse’s sat conspicuously empty. The section previously housed Blue Bell products, but Listeria linked to their Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream resulted in a voluntary recall of the entire product line.


After five Kansas patients and three Texas patients received medical treatment after testing positive for Listeria, the company began an enhanced “sampling program.” The extra inspections revealed the Cookie Dough half gallons creamed on March 17 and March 27 were positive for the bacteria. Blue Bell proceeded to pull all of their products from Moo Bars to Ice Cream.


“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,” said Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and President in a release.


According to the Mayo Clinic, Listeria monocytogenes can cause fatal infections in the usual suspects: young, the elderly, and the frail. Healthier people still have the chance to experience fever, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhea, headache, stiff neck, confusion or changes in alertness, loss of balance, and convulsions. Afflicted pregnant women may experience miscarriages. The infection may weeks and even months to manifest itself.


Complicating the matter, Listeria thrives in cold and frozen environs.


On top of the recall, Blue Bell says that they will use a “test and hold” system. Basically, that means that product will not be released until it tests negative. In addition, the company promises increased employee education, an 800 percent increase in on-site swabbing & testing, and daily lab tests.


“At every step, we have made decisions in the best interest of our customers based on the evidence we had available at the time,” Kruse said. “At this point, we cannot say with certainty how Listeria was introduced to our facilities and so we have taken this unprecedented step. We continue to work with our team of experts to eliminate this problem.”


NoDef tried to find hysteria in NOLA’s supermarkets, but customers were largely nonplussed. A few commented about the start of snoball season.


In addition to Louisiana, Blue Bell is distributed in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma,  South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming, and international locations.


Consumers who have purchased these items are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. For more information consumers with questions may call 1-866-608-3940 Monday – Friday 8a.m. – 8p.m., Saturday 10a.m. – 2p.m. CST

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