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Blue Bell Ice Cream Faces Criminal Investigation
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Blue Bell

Summary: After a listeria contamination was found in all three plants for Blue Bell Creameries, the Justice Department has opened an investigation into the company.

Blue Bell Creameries LP is being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department following a listeria outbreak in their ice cream. The contamination has been linked to three deaths and numerous illnesses, prompting the criminal investigation.


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The goal of the investigation is to determine if and how much the executives knew about listeria in the plants and products. The Justice Department also wants to understand the response the executives took once learning of the contamination.

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Blue Bell Creameries in Brenham, Texas is one of the largest in the country. They issued the recall in April for all of their products and started shipping ice cream again in August. The company had to first get regulators’ approval after a comprehensive review of its operation, including enhanced procedures and equipment. Blue Bell claimed they regularly cleaned the surfaces in all three of their factories that tested positive for listeria but those practices were determined to be inadequate.

Peanut Butter Company Owner Charged for Covering up Salmonella Infection

The Justice Department has been frequently investigating food companies that have shipped contaminated products that resulted in illnesses and deaths. The former owner of Peanut Corp. of America was sentenced to 28 years in prison after covering up a salmonella outbreak. ConAgra Foods Inc. had to pay $11.2 million plus a misdemeanor charge after the company shipped peanut butter contaminated with salmonella.

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Since the outbreak at Blue Bell, the company has suffered greatly, laying off or furloughing most of its workforce and taking on an emergency investment from billionaire Sid Bass. They hope to recall the furloughed workers by the end of January.




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