Three people die from foodborne illness linked to Blue Bell ice cream.

Three People Die From Foodborne Illness Linked to Blue Bell Ice Cream

Three People Die From Foodborne Illness Linked to Blue Bell Ice Cream

The Slatest
Your News Companion
March 14 2015 11:28 AM

Three People Die From Foodborne Illness Linked to Blue Bell Ice Cream

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Blue Bell says a limited number of snack items were affected by the recall.

Flickr/Laura Gilchrist

Three Kansas hospital patients died, and two more became ill, after developing listeriosis, likely from eating Blue Bell ice cream products, which led to the Texas company’s first product recall in its 108-year history. The five adults became sick between January 2014 and January of this year after eating the ice cream products in a Kansas hospital, where they were all being treated for unrelated illnesses, notes the Associated Press.

What is listeria? The Washington Post explains:

Listeria is a relatively rare illness, caused by bacteria that can live in water, certain animals and food made with raw milk (think: deli meats, dairy products and smoked seafood). The bacteria can grow in the cold and can be killed by either cooking or pasteurization.
Symptoms can appear within a few days to weeks and include fever, muscle aches and sometimes diarrhea. Older adults, pregnant women and newborns are particularly at risk at becoming sick after listeria exposure.
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Blue bell insists the problem has been contained. “One of our machines produced a limited amount of frozen snacks with a potential listeria problem,” the company said in a statement. “When this was detected all products produced by this machine were withdrawn. Our Blue Bell team members recovered all involved products in stores and storage.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.