According to reports, Blue Bell Creameries is asking federal regulators to let up and allow the Texas-based ice cream maker to get back to business as usual following a deadly Listeria outbreak. Contaminated ice cream products are believed to caused at least 10 illnesses in four states. The outbreak ultimately claimed three lives in Kansas.
Since the outbreak and close government oversight, Blue Bell has been forced to destroy any and all products that are even suspected of having traces of Listeria--even if testing ultimately proves that is not the case. This practice has resulted in the loss of thousands of cartons of product, and millions of dollars too. Now, the company would like to pull back, only destroying products that actually test positive for microbiological contamination.
Blue Bell has teamed up with a laboratory to develop tests that meet U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements. The tests are meant to prevent future outbreaks from occurring, while helping Blue Bell to recover after its massive product recall.
Blue Bell initially began recalling products in March 2015 due to traces of Listeria--a bacteria commonly found in raw milk. At that time, Blue Bell vowed to make major changes to the company’s cleaning and sanitizing processes, including daily lab testing, and said that products would be held until tests prove that they are safe for consumption.
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