The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Blue Bell Creameries over last year’s Listeria outbreak which was believed to be the cause of three deaths in Kansas. Government prosecutors are examining what Blue Bell executives knew about the presence of Listeria in their factories as well as their handling of the outbreak.

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In April 2015, Blue Bell voluntarily recalled its products after 10 reported Listeria cases in Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas were linked to the 108-year-old ice cream novelty company. In August, the company began shipping its products again after receiving regulator’s approval. According to CNN, an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention connected the Listeria outbreak all the way back to 2010.

“It’s no longer unusual for the Justice Department to take an interest in an outbreak of this magnitude,” attorney James Neale, who has no involvement in the Blue Bell case, told the Wall Street Journal.

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Blue Bell had previously announced a five-stage plan to revive its sales following the outbreak. Beginning January 18, the company will begin to fill shipments to states including Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. After completion of that phase, employees that were temporary laid off after the recall will have returned to work.


Contact the author at marie.lodi@jezebel.com.

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