Illness

After Fatal Listeria Outbreak, DOJ Investigates Blue Bell's Response

After Fatal Listeria Outbreak, DOJ Investigates Blue Bell's Response

Blue Bell Ice Cream

Image credit: Jonny Hunter | Flickr

Blue Bell Creameries is being probed by the U.S. Department of Justice over listeria contamination of its ice cream that was linked to three deaths, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Government lawyers are trying to find out what company executives knew about listeria in its plants and potentially its products, and what they did in response, the newspaper said, citing a source.

The company voluntarily recalled all products in April after 10 reported cases of listeria were linked to Blue Bell frozen treats. Three of those sickened later died.

The 108-year-old ice cream maker shut its operations around the same time, in its largest plant in Brenham, Texas, after the FDA started investigating the company over listeria contamination, in relation to reports of three deaths in a Kansas hospital.

Blue Bell, however, resumed operations at its Texas plant in November.

Details of the DOJ investigation could not be learned, the Wall Street Journal said.

The news about the DOJ investigation was first reported by CBS news on Tuesday. CBS said, citing sources, that DOJ is looking at what Blue Bell's management knew about potentially deadly hazards in their plants.

The Department of Justice and Blue Bell could not be reached immediately for comment outside regular business hours.

(Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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