Three deaths at Wichita, Kansas' Via Christi Hospital have been linked to Blue Bell ice cream produced from one production line in Brenham, Texas.
Five patients were infected with a strain of listeria, a bacteria carrying food-borne illnesses, after they consumed the milkshakes prepared at the hospital using Blue Bell's ice cream, Scoop. Three of them died.
Traces of listeria have been found in Scoops as well as Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Country Cookies, Great Divide Bars, Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Cotton Candy Bars, Vanilla Stick Slices, Almond Bars and No Sugar Added Moo Bars.
Although it's speculated that listeriosis contributed to the deaths of the three patients, it is not believed to be the sole cause.
Listeriosis, a food-borne illness, can be especially fatal for people with weak immune systems. It is carried by the bacteria, listeria, which can thrive even at refrigerator temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
“It’s why it’s a problem for cooler foods like ice cream and cheese,” says Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer in Washington state.
As of now, Blue Bell has issued a product recall, the first in its 108-year-long history. The recalled products include Blue Bell’s Chocolate Chip Country Cookie, Great Divide Bar, Sour Pop Green Apple Bar, Cotton Candy Bar, Scoops, Vanilla Stick Slices, Almond Bar, and No Sugar Added Moo Bar. A production line has also been shut down amid government advice for consumers to clear their freezers of all Blue Bell products.