Blue Bell ice cream contaminated with listeria has been linked to the deaths of three patients at a Kansas hospital, LA Times reports. Health officials say that eating the tainted ice cream was not the only cause of their deaths.
“These people had been in and out of the hospital for other reasons,” said Sara Belfry, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, to the Los Angeles Times. “This was a contributing cause, not the only cause.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, five patients at the hospital were infected. The issues they were being treated for were unrelated. Four of the patients drank milkshakes containing a single serving of Blue Bell’s Scoops ice cream at the hospital. The CDC says this fact “strongly suggests their infections were acquired in the hospital” according to LA Times.
This is the first time Blue Bell Creameries has had a product recall. The listeria outbreak stems from products made on a single production line at the company’s plant in Brenham, Texas. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the most recent outbreak was two months ago.
The company stated that “This withdrawal in no way includes our half gallons, quarts, pints, cups, three-gallon ice cream or the majority of take-home frozen snack novelties,”
Eating food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, which typically causes fever and muscle aches. Individuals with listeriosis may also experience diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues.