Georgia agriculture officials warn retailers, consumers of expanded Blue Bell recall over public health concerns
Atlanta – Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black is alerting Georgians to the expanded recall of all Blue Bell Creameries products currently in the marketplace, due to possible health risk. The products were distributed in Georgia and include all Blue Bell ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snack products.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have been investigating an ongoing illness outbreak of Listeriosis linked to certain Blue Bell products. To date, 10 illnesses and three related deaths have been reported in four states. No related illnesses have been reported in Georgia.
Listeriosis is caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Anyone who experiences fever, muscle aches, diarrhea and/or other gastrointestinal symptoms, or develops fever and chills after eating the recalled products should seek medical care and tell their health care provider about any history of eating Blue Bell products. Symptoms can appear from a few days up to a few weeks after consumption of the contaminated food.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) is actively looking to ensure these recalled products are no longer available in the marketplace. If consumers have Blue Bell products in their home freezers, the product should be thrown away or returned to the store where it was purchased for a refund – regardless of whether the product has been eaten without anyone becoming ill. If Blue Bell products are still available for sale in any grocery stores, supermarkets or convenience stores, the GDA encourages consumers to notify store managers and to contact the GDA Food Safety Division at 404-656-3627 and inspectors will follow up if store names and physical addresses can be provided.
Blue Bell’s manufacturing facilities in Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas are working with FDA in the investigation and the company is implementing new “test and hold” procedures, in addition to new safety precautions and employee training.