Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries issued a voluntary recall last night for all of its products on the market after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria. The company "cannot say with certainty" how the bacteria was introduced to its facilities, Blue Bell chief executive Paul Kruse said in a statement. The recall, which includes ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, and frozen snacks distributed in 23 states and international locations, was issued because other products "have the potential to be contaminated," the statement said. "We're committed to doing the 100% 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," Kruse said.
The first recall in the family-owned creamery's 108-year history was issued last month after the CDC linked ice cream contaminated with listeria to three deaths at a Kansas hospital. Five others in Kansas and Texas were sickened with listeriosis, which can cause fever, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal symptoms and primarily affects pregnant women and newborns, older adults, and people with immune systems weakened by cancer, cancer treatments, or other serious conditions. The manufacturing facility in Oklahoma where operations were suspended earlier this month for sanitizing will remain closed as Blue Bell continues to investigate the source of the bacteria, the company says.