Investigation into Blue Bell listeria outbreak over, CDC says

The Blue Bell Creameries listeria outbreak investigation is over, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

However, the CDC advised that "people could continue to get sick because recalled products may still be in people's freezers and consumers unaware of the recalls could eat them."

Additionally, businesses should still not sell recalled products.

Blue Bell says it has likely identified the source of listeria contamination at its Oklahoma plant, but it may not be able to pinpoint a single source for the problem at its Texas plant.

The Texas-based company gave the information to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in response to federal inspections. The FDA publicly released the 35-page report Wednesday in response to a Freedom of Information request by The Associated Press.

Blue Bell said ice cream products at its facility in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, might have been contaminated by equipment and sealed-ingredient buckets stored in a non-sanitary room. But a contamination source hasn't been found at its plant in Brenham, Texas.

The FDA also confirmed a surface area at Blue Bell's plant in Alabama tested positive for listeria.

Blue Bell said Wednesday that it has given the FDA a detailed list of corrective actions that are currently being taken in response to the FDA's inspection reports of Blue Bell's plants in Brenham, Broken Arrow and Sylacauga, Alabama.

"This process has led Blue Bell to 'reassess everything' about its operations and identify a number of enhancements that will be made, including updated environmental and product testing procedures," Blue Bell said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The company is focusing on ensuring that all aspects of its facilities and production lines are clean and sanitary, and result in a safe product, [CEO and President Paul Kruse] said."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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