Texas Finalizes Penalty Agreement With Blue Bell
July 29, 2016
Texashealth officials today finalized with Blue Bell Creameries a penalty and agreementthat the company will continue to test and monitor its ice cream following lastyear’s outbreak of Listeria monocytogeneslinked to Blue Bell products made in Brenham.
Thetotal penalty amount is $850,000. Of that, $175,000 must be paid within 30 days.The remaining balance will not have to be paid if the company follows the termsoutlined in the agreement for 18 months. The penalty was issued against thecompany because it allowed adulterated product to enter the marketplace andcause illness.
Theenforcement agreement between Blue Bell and the Texas Department of StateHealth Services extends several requirements from a previous agreement for thenext 18 months. Blue Bell must continue to notify DSHS of any presumptivepositive test results for Listeriamonocytogenes in ice cream, ingredients, food surfaces, machinery and otherequipment in its Brenham plant. The company must maintain its “test and hold”procedures for all finished product, meaning ice cream must be found to be freeof pathogens before it can be sold to the public. As a licensed frozen dessertmanufacturer, the company also must continue to provide state inspectors withfull access to the plant to take samples.
Lastyear the company temporarily shut down its Brenham operation following thediscovery of Listeria monocytogenesin certain ice cream products that were linked to several cases of Listeriosis.At the time, Texas health officials outlined requirements and milestones thecompany had to reach before releasing ice cream into the marketplace. Statehealth inspectors periodically were on site at the Brenham plant to evaluatetest results and records, review cleaning procedures and assess trainingactivities.
Thecompany is currently producing, testing and selling ice cream made at theplant.
Theenforcement agreement is posted here.
(News Media Contact: Carrie Williams, 512-776-7119, firstname.lastname@example.org)
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