Ignoring the safety: Sample ties listeria to Blue Bell’s Alabama plant

A private laboratory has linked Listeria to a Blue Bell plant in Alabama, providing the first evidence that all three of the ice cream maker’s production facilities distributed contaminated products.

blue.bell.creameriesThe lab tested the half gallon of Cookies ‘n Cream on behalf of Brent McRae, a Florida man recovering from a coma after a suspected bout of meningitis.

McRae was admitted to a hospital in April. His family saved the ice cream in his freezer and sent it to Kappa Laboratories of Miami, which issued the positive results Wednesday. A product code on the bottom of the carton confirms it came from Alabama.

McRae’s attorney, Bill Marler of Seattle, said health care workers did not obtain samples to confirm a diagnosis of listeriosis, but that his symptoms were consistent with the illness. Marler said he will wait to review medical records and consult experts before deciding whether to file a lawsuit. One other person has sued Blue Bell, and the company is expected to face more litigation.

State and federal health officials had already found listeria in products from Blue Bell plants in Brenham and Broken Arrow, Okla. The Centers for Disease Control confirmed three Kansas hospital patients, already severely ill, died after contracting listeriosis from the ice cream.