Blue Bell Controversy Continues – No Reports of Listeria
News sources and Blue Bell spokespeople have had conflicting stories over the past few days about a possible listeria re-occurrence in a Blue Bell plant.
Blue Bell, America's favorite ice cream, had to recall all of their products in April 2015 after a listeria outbreak. They shut down all of their production plants and went through extensive changes to accommodate the massive recall. Many employees were given furlough and all Blue Bell ice cream was taken off the shelves.
It was a long-awaited return, but Blue Bell was able to return to the market in several phases. They had not completed their reintroduction when they decided to update everyone on the status of their listeria prevention.
We have identified locations where suspected Listeria species may be present in our facility, and we continue to extensively clean and sanitize those areas and make additional enhancements to the facility and our procedures based on the environmental test results.
Blue Bell released this statement in a press release on January 7th. Within hours, CNN, Fox News, and local news outlets everywhere had shared the information that Blue Bell had listeria in their production plant...again. Including us!
Shortly afterward, Blue Bell released yet another statement.
To keep our customers informed, we gave an update yesterday, January 7, 2016, on the progress we have made with our enhanced procedures in our production facilities. Unfortunately in some media reports this information has been misstated.
In our facilities, we have identified suspected areas where bacteria may be present but in no case have we confirmed Listeria monocytogenes.
There was massive outrage as Americans called out news outlets for "click bait" and "misinformation." And, well, I have to agree.
The news stories did say that Blue Bell had not confirmed any cases of listeria, but that information was hidden below details of their original listeria outbreak and their statement about the potential of a listeria presence in their plant.
Most of the stories were phrased as, 'Blue Bell has listeria again,' and 'Listeria found in Blue Bell plant.' It's no surprise that the original story caused everyone to jump to conclusions and vow never to buy Blue Bell again.
Unfortunately for Blue Bell, the information is out there. However, if they continue to be honest with their audience, there is no reason why they should suffer any consequences for the misunderstanding.