DOJ Opens Criminal Investigation Into Ice Cream Maker Blue Bell linked to three fatal listeria cases last year By Michael Harthorne, Newser Staff Posted Jan 2, 2016 1:54 PM CST 33 comments Comments The DOJ has launched a criminal investigation into Blue Bell following fatal listeria cases. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File) (Newser) – The US Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation into ice-cream-maker Blue Bell after its frozen treats were linked to 10 listeria cases—three of them fatal—last year, CNN reports. According to the Wall Street Journal, prosecutors are looking into what Blue Bell executives knew about the listeria outbreak and what they did about it. The company claimed listeria was found "on the lid of a food service cup" in March and a mass recall was issued in April. But the CDC—after comparing this year's listeria strain to patients on file—says the problem may have started in 2010, CNN reports. The potentially fatal germ "could have lurked somewhere in the factory the whole time." according to the CDC. Blue Bell nearly went under following the recall but has since started getting its products back in US stores, according to the Journal.