Blue Bell's troubles continue after news broke that it knew about contamination in its plants five years ago.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in a case update
, expresses concern that Blue Bell has only recently recalled its products, although the company had found evidence of the Listeria monocytogenes
bacteria as far back as 2010.
Three deaths are linked to the outbreak.
Including both the Broken Arrow and Brenhem facilities, the listeria contamination of Blue Bell facilities initially tested positive on only on non-food-contact surfaces.
According to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report
, however, Blue Bell omitted the testing of samples of food-contact surfaces and to determine if a preventative measure was needed to deal with the toxic bacteria.
"It's almost like they were looking for it in areas that if they found it there they didn't get in much trouble," attorney Bill Marler, a food safety expert, said. "They just didn't look for it in areas where the risk to the consumer was the highest," as reported by the Houston Chronicle
In a press release, Blue Bell CEO and President, Paul Kruse states “We’re committed to doing the 100 percent 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.”
But where was this concern for public safety five years ago?
Currently, the CDC reports, there have been 10 confirmed cases of listeria infection throughout Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. All 10 individuals were hospitalized and three died.
Blue Bell easily could have prevented this outbreak with proper cleaning and sanitation management.