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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Qatar shops pull Blue Bell ice cream over listeria-related recall

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Bluebell ice cream in freezers in Monoprix
Bluebell ice cream in freezers in Monoprix

An American company that makes Blue Bell ice cream has recalled all its frozen products in the US and some countries internationally – including Qatar – after a listeria outbreak that is believed to have caused three people to die, and 10 to become seriously ill.

On Monday, Bluebell Creameries issued a statement ordering the recall of “all of its products currently on the market made at all of its facilities including ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.”

Blue Bell ice cream
Blue Bell ice cream

Supermarkets in Qatar that usually stock the product do not appear to have received any notification of the recall by local authorities yet, but at least two stores said they have voluntarily removed the ice cream from their freezers.

A representative from Megamart at The Center told Doha News that all Blue Bell products were removed last night, after being advised of the recall by a supplier.

Earlier this morning, Monoprix had some nine different Blue Bell ice cream flavors in stock, as well as some of the brand’s popsicles.

However, these have all since been removed, a supervisor told Doha News, although he said that the store had still not received any formal order to do so from Qatar authorities.

Health advice

Yesterday, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised consumers to not eat any Blue Bell brand products, and instructed institutions and retailers to stop serving or selling the ice cream while the manufacturing company investigates the source of the contamination.

The listeria organism can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections, particularly in children, the elderly, those with a weakened immune system and pregnant women. The bacteria can cause fever, muscle ache, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions.

Infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn, according to the CDC.

In its most recent statement, the CDC added:

“This is a complex and ongoing multistate outbreak investigation of listeriosis illnesses occurring over several years. Several strains of Listeria monocytogenes are involved in this outbreak. Information indicates that various Blue Bell brand products are the source of this outbreak.”

Bluebell Creameries is a Texas-based company that has been making ice cream for 108 years.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

It issued the blanket recall after pulling some products from stores over the previous few weeks. The recall comes while authorities investigate the deaths of three people in the state of Kansas over the past year, and 10 cases of illness after people contracted listeriosis – five in Kansas, three in Texas, one in Arizona and one in Oklahoma.

“We’re committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe.

We are heartbroken about this situation and apologize to all of our loyal Blue Bell fans and customers. Our entire history has been about making the very best and highest quality ice cream and we intend to fix this problem. We want enjoying our ice cream to be a source of joy and pleasure, never a cause for concern, so we are committed to getting this right,” said Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and president in a statement.

The recall affects 23 states within the US and 27 countries and territories internationally.

In addition to Qatar, they are: Anguilla, Belize, Bermuda, Chile, China, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Haiti, Jordan, Kuwait, Mexico, Montserrat, Oman, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico,, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Tortola, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and St. Croix St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

The first case of illness dates back to January 2010, although the cause of the bacteria is still unknown.

Investigation

Blue Bell said it is investigating all its manufacturing facilities after initial tests found Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream half gallons produced on March 17, 2015, and March 27, 2015, contained the bacteria.

It said it was operating a “test and hold” process for all its products, rigorously testing all its foodstuffs to ensure they are safe before they are released to the market.

It said it has also increased its swabbing and testing of all its facilities and sending samples daily to a leading microbiology laboratory for testing and is providing additional employee training.

Thoughts?

17 COMMENTS

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sicti
sicti
5 years ago

Qatar supermarkets for the moment are in mulling phase :)))

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago
Reply to  sicti

Think it’s the gov’t mulling, The stores themselves took this action.

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  sicti

My, my, what a ‘mazing ‘mount of mulling is met in this region! The Mullerate of Qatar. Hammad International Mullerport. His Mullerate the Muller of Qatar. The Central Mullercipal Council (elections for which have recently been cancelled, due to excessive mulling on the part of the franchised mullulation).United Arab Mullerates. Mullerhad Airlines. The Mulleronion of the Two Holy Mosques. (And so on, to the point of silliness [if that point has not been reached already]!).

desertCard
desertCard
5 years ago

So the stores, who obviously have people up on the news, pulls the products but the authorities are still…mulling what to do. This didn’t happen yesterday. Meanwhile 10 people could have developed listeria. Good thing the private sector takes care of itself.

Expat
Expat
5 years ago

I had a few scoops of Blue Bell’s Orange and Vanilla Sherbert about a month ago but didn’t like it and threw it away. Should I do some tests or something?

Chilidog
Chilidog
5 years ago
Reply to  Expat

You’re probably fine. Unfortunately, BB in Qatar is not like BB in the US. I’ve noticed this with other perishable imported products like meat and wine. They don’t seem to be handled correctly, like left on the tarmac too long or something. They taste like they’ve been warmed and recooled. Might be why some of the beef in supermarkets is gray. We find that about every fourth or fifth bottle of wine has a strange taste or is outright spoiled (making their already outrageous price per GOOD bottle go even higher when you consider the waste bottles). And we love BB, but don’t buy much of it in Qatar because it tastes like it’s been melted and refrozen most of the time and is super expensive anyway. So I don’t think you’d have a health issue, but it probably wasn’t transported well. Not enough to make it dangerous, but enough to make it taste bad.

Expat
Expat
5 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

You are probably right! The texture was very gritty (not like the normal sherbert) so yea it probably was melted and refrozen! I’ll just stick with Haagen Dazs or London Dairy for the mean time lol!

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
5 years ago
Reply to  Expat

Gosh no stay away from Haagen Daaz. Just as bad. Icy and gritty and all the filling falls to the bottom which means it was allowed to completely defrost ( God knows how many times). I used to love HD in the UK but have stopped buying it here. Especially bad in C4 Villagio .

Illusionist's wife
Illusionist's wife
5 years ago

Ok so this all happened at least during the last year … 3 people died, and 10 got seriously sick, but not all at the same time? My question just is why didn’t the authorities react earlier … maybe am missing something …

Michael Fryer
Michael Fryer
5 years ago

I’m too lazy to type a response, but here’s a link

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/20/health/blue-bell-ice-cream-recall/

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

Lovely.

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
5 years ago

DN did the health department have a statement or “no comment” anything? This doesn’t seem well coordinated if a shop is relying on their salesman to give recall instructions. It’s a bit embarrassing right?

Ali
Ali
5 years ago

On Friday night I had ice cream from Baskin Robins at The Center and it was one of the worst ice cream I ever had. I became ill after eating that ice cream had fever for two days. Now I am taking anti biotics. Today is 5th day and I am still not fully recovered.
The ice cream had a saltish flavor. To be honest I don’t know if ice cream can be salty because I have only eaten sweet ones. Will never eat at Baskin Robins again. Simply pathetic and 3rd class ice cream.

Turkish
Turkish
5 years ago

This is my best ice cream in qatar light vanilla plz… 🙂

Turkish
Turkish
5 years ago

Why no one made ice cream here very easy if have fresh milk ?

Turkish
Turkish
5 years ago
Reply to  Turkish

We are understand this job in Turkey. Qatar all ice cream shop useing milk powder. Only Arabic ice cream fresh here but maybe little price up lovely test plz…

Karen Dillawn Fenter
Karen Dillawn Fenter
5 years ago

Blue bell wanted everyone to pull the ice cream whether they were in the US or being sold internationally.

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