September 17, 2020: Blue Bell Creameries Ordered To Pay $17.25 Million In Criminal Penalties Following 2015 Listeria Outbreak

A federal court in Texas has ordered ice cream manufacturer, Blue Bell Creameries L.P., to pay $17.25 million in criminal penalties for shipping Listeria contaminated products linked to a deadly 2015 listeriosis outbreak.

Blue Bell Creameries pleaded guilty in May 2020 to two misdemeanor counts of distributing adulterated ice cream products.  The $17.25 million fine is the largest criminal penalty imposed following a conviction in a food safety case, and was reported by the Justice Department to be consistent with the terms of a please agreement previous filed in the case.

“American consumers must be able to trust that the foods they purchase are safe to eat,” said an Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “The sentence imposed today sends a clear message to food manufacturers that the Department of Justice will take appropriate actions when contaminated food products endanger consumers.”

The plea agreement and criminal information filed against Blue Bell allege that the company distributed ice cream products that were manufactured under insanitary conditions and contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, in violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. 

The U.S. Department Of Justice’s press release indicated that according to the plea agreement with the company:

  • Texas state officials notified Blue Bell in February 2015 that samples of two ice cream products from the company’s Brenham, Texas factory tested positive for the foodborne pathogen, Listeria monocytogenes.
  • As a result, Blue Bell directed its delivery drivers to remove remaining stock of the two ice cream products from store shelves, however, the company did not recall the products or issue any formal communication to inform customers about the potential Listeria contamination
  • Two weeks after Blue Bell received notification of the first positive Listeria tests, Texas state officials informed the company that additional state-led testing confirmed Listeria in a third product.  Blue Bell again chose not to issue any formal notification to customers regarding the positive tests. Blue Bell’s customers included military installations.  
  • In March 2015, tests conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked the strain of Listeria found in one of the Blue Bell ice cream products to a strain that sickened five patients at a Kansas hospital with listeriosis, a severe infectious illness caused by eating Listeria-contaminated food. 
  • The FDA, CDC, and Blue Bell all issued public recall notifications on March 13, 2015. 
  • Subsequent tests confirmed Listeria contamination in a product made at another Blue Bell facility in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, which led to a second recall announcement on March 23, 2015. 
  • According to the plea agreement with the company, FDA inspections in March and April 2015 revealed sanitation issues at the Brenham and Broken Arrow facilities, including problems with the hot water supply needed to properly clean equipment and deteriorating factory conditions that could lead to insanitary water dripping into product mix during the manufacturing process. 
  • Blue Bell temporarily closed all of its plants in late April 2015 to clean and update the facilities. Blue Bell re-opened its facilities in late 2015.

Blue Bell Creameries Listeria Outbreak – The Final Case Count

In its final outbreak update, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that a total of 10 people with listeriosis related to the Blue Bell ice cream Listeria outbreak were reported from 4 states: Arizona (1), Kansas (5), Oklahoma (1), and Texas (3). All ill people were hospitalized. Three deaths were reported from Kansas (3).

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August 9, 2020: Freshouse II, LLC Recalls Mesh Bags and Bulk Shipments of Potatoes, Limes, Valencia Oranges, and Lemons

Freshouse Produce Recall News – Freshouse II, LLC (Freshouse), of Salisbury, NC, has issued a recall for its Valencia Oranges, lemons, limes, organic limes, and Red B. Potatoes due to a possible Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria) contamination.

Freshouse Produce Recall Information

On August 9, 2020, Freshouse initiated a recall for specific lots of Valencia Oranges, lemons, limes, organic limes, and Red B. Potatoes because they may be contaminated with Listeria. Freshouse issued the recall after routine internal testing found Listeria on a piece of equipment in a packing facility. The below chart outlines information related to the recalled produce:

Credit: FDA & Freshouse

Consumers can identify the recalled produce by looking for the brand, UPC number and, if available, the trace number printed on the tag or clip attached to the opening end of the bag. The recalled produce were shipped directly to retailer distribution centers in NC, PA, SC, and VA, as well as to wholesalers in Maryland and North Carolina.

Consumers who have a recalled produce item listed above should not consume it and should destroy the product in a way so that it may not be consumed by others. Alternatively, the affected Freshouse produce can be returned to the place of purchase for a refund.

ABOUT LISTERIA

Listeria monocytogenes, is a type of bacterium that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection (listeriosis) can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Please see About Listeria for more information.

CONTACT THE WEINBERG LAW FIRM FOR A FREE LISTERIA LAWSUIT CASE EVALUATION

If you or a loved one are diagnosed with listeriosis, are awaiting medical confirmation of Listeria food poisoning, or have a question regarding your legal rights, you can request a free Listeria Lawsuit case evaluation by contacting The Weinberg Law Firm toll free at 877-934-6274. Our phones are answered 24/7.

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August 9, 2020: Wegmans Issues Recall for Valencia Oranges, Lemons, and Various Products Containing Fresh Lemon

Wegmans Orange and Lemon Recall News – Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. (Wegmans) has initiated a recall for Valencia Oranges, lemons, and various in-store produced foods containing fresh lemons due to possible Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria) contamination.

Wegmans Orange and Lemon Recall Information

On August 9, 2020, Wegmans issued a recall for its four-pound bag of Valencia Oranges, two-pound bag of lemons, bulk lemons, and varieties of in-store produced seafood and restaurant foods containing fresh lemons due to potential Listeria contamination.

The affected oranges and lemons were sold in Wegmans stores in NJ, PA, VA, NC, MD, and Brooklyn and Harrison, NY. Oranges and lemons subject to this recall include the following:

  • Wegmans 4lb Bag Valencia Oranges – UPC: 7789052363
  • Wegmans 2lb Bag Lemons – UPC: 7789015917
  • Wegmans bulk lemons – UPC: 4033

These products were sold between July 31, 2020 and August 7, 2020.

The affected oranges and lemons were supplied to Wegmans by Freshouse Produce LLC of Salisbury, NC, which issued a recall after the company’s internal testing identified Listeria on a piece of equipment in one of its packing facilities.

ABOUT LISTERIA

Listeria monocytogenes, is a type of bacterium that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection (listeriosis) can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Please see About Listeria for more information.

CONTACT THE WEINBERG LAW FIRM FOR A FREE LISTERIA LAWSUIT CASE EVALUATION

If you or a loved one are diagnosed with listeriosis, are awaiting medical confirmation of Listeria food poisoning, or have a question regarding your legal rights, you can request a free Listeria Lawsuit case evaluation by contacting The Weinberg Law Firm toll free at 877-934-6274. Our phones are answered 24/7.

Please visit Medical Malpractice Lawyer, Food Poisoning Attorney, Car Accident Lawsuit, and Personal Injury Attorney for information regarding our additional legal services.

Credit: FDA

June 30, 2020: Garland Ventures LTD Issues Recall for Five Cheese Stuffed Shells due to possible Listeria Exposure

Garland Ventures Ltd Stuffed Shells Recall News – Garland Ventures Ltd (Garland Ventures) of Garland, TX has issued a recall for 1,095 cases of its Five Cheese Stuffed Shells trays due to a potential Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria) contamination.

Garland Ventures Ltd Stuffed Shells Recall Information

On June 30, 2020, Garland Ventures issued a recall for its Five Cheese Stuffed Shells product due to a potential Listeria exposure.  The recalled Five Cheese Stuffed Shells product was distributed nationwide in select number of retail stores. The affected stuffed shells product comes in a 10.76oz. aluminum foil tray with clear lid, containing shells with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and parsley, and marked lot# F080SS/F090SS on the bottom of label. Consumers who have purchased the “Five Cheese Stuffed Shells” product are urged to return them to the place of purchase for full refund.

ABOUT LISTERIA

Listeria monocytogenes, is a type of bacterium that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection (listeriosis) can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women. Please see About Listeria for more information.

CONTACT THE WEINBERG LAW FIRM FOR A FREE LISTERIA LAWSUIT CASE EVALUATION

If you or a loved one are diagnosed with listeriosis, are awaiting medical confirmation of Listeria food poisoning, or have a question regarding your legal rights, you can request a free Listeria Lawsuit case evaluation by contacting The Weinberg Law Firm toll free at 877-934-6274. Our phones are answered 24/7. Please visit Consumer Products Lawsuit, Pharmaceutical Drug Lawyer, Food Poisoning Lawsuit, and Personal Injury Attorney for information regarding our additional legal services.
Credit: FDA/Norpac

June 29, 2020: Norpac Fisheries Export Issues Recall for Shrimp Poke due to Potential Listeria Contamination

Norpac Fisheries Export Shrimp Poke Recall News – Norpac Fisheries Export (Norpac) issued a recall for its fresh shrimp poke product, distributed in Hawaii, due to a potential Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria) contamination.

Norpac Fisheries Export Shrimp Poke Recall InformationCredit: FDA/Norpac

One June 28, 2020, Norpac issued a recall for its fresh shrimp poke, distributed in Hawaii between May 11 and June 25, 2020 due to possible Listeria exposure.  Norpac’s fresh shrimp poke was distributed in Hawaii on The Big Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai through retail stores, specifically Safeway stores. Norpac became aware of the potential Listeria contamination of its shrimp poke product through routine monitoring procedures. Consumers who have purchased Norpac’s Fresh Shrimp Poke are urged to return it to the point of purchase for a full refund.

ABOUT LISTERIA

Listeria monocytogenes, is a type of bacterium that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection (listeriosis) can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.

Please see About Listeria for more information.

CONTACT THE WEINBERG LAW FIRM FOR A FREE LISTERIA LAWSUIT CASE EVALUATION

If you or a loved one are diagnosed with listeriosis, are awaiting medical confirmation of Listeria food poisoning, or have a question regarding your legal rights, you can request a free Listeria Lawsuit case evaluation by contacting The Weinberg Law Firm toll free at 877-934-6274. Our phones are answered 24/7.

Please visit Food Poisoning Attorney, Pharmaceutical Drug Lawsuit, Personal Injury Lawyer, and Consumer Products Litigation for information regarding our additional legal services.

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