For the second time in little more than 18 months, Texas-based Blue Bell Ice Cream is voluntarily recalling some of its dessert products from South Carolina shelves due to listeria concerns.
This time the products came from ice cream manufactured at the company’s Sylacauga, Alabama plant. Blue Bell said all the affected products were made with a chocolate chip cookie dough ingredient from a third party supplier due to the potential for it to contain Listeria monocytogenes.
Besides South Carolina, products produced with the chocolate chip cookie dough pieces were distributed in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The company said it found the bacterium in Aspen Hills products, but none of the products it distributed tested positive. No illnesses have been reported to date, the FDA said.
The announcement comes after a previous listeria discovery in some of Blue Bell’s ice cream sandwiches and bars in Spring 2015 briefly shut down the company’s operations. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Health (DHEC) inspectors discovered the bacterium inside ice cream products collected from a distribution center in Lexington via company’s production facilities in Brenham, Texas. At least three deaths were blamed on the contamination.
Listeria monocytogenes bacteria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
This recall covers the following products:
Blue Bell Ice Cream Half Gallons: Code Dates
Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 082618226
Blue Bell Cookie Two Step 080418222, 081818224
Blue Bell Ice Cream Pints: Code Dates
Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 081518242, 082418242
The products can be identified by the code date found on the bottom of the carton. Consumers should not eat the recalled products and are encouraged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.