Public health officials urge consumers to take Blue Bell recall seriously

Public health officials urge consumers to take Blue Bell recall seriously

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - As local stores emptied their freezer shelves of Blue Bell Ice Cream products, local public health officials warned consumers to take the recall seriously, and not to consume any of the ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and other frozen snacks that have been recalled by the company.

At Dorignac's in Metairie, freezer shelves were being replenished Tuesday, but not with the store's best-selling ice cream, Blue Bell.

"It's in our freezer waiting for pickup," store Manager Eddie Moreno said.

He said they did not hesitate to remove the products from store shelves.

"As soon as we got the call, we immediately went over here, I helped them myself, put it in baskets, put in the freezer back there," Moreno said.

Late Monday, Blue Bell recalled all of its products after two samples of its chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria.

"Listeria is the bacteria, and it's present in soil and in some water and intestines of some animals, and in this case with Blue Bell ice cream, it was probably present in raw milk," said Dr. LuAnn White with Tulane University's School of Public Health.

She said listeriosis is the disease people can get after consuming products with high levels of the bacteria.

"The symptoms are fever, headache, maybe diarrhea - those are the mild symptoms," White said. In the cases where people have died, these have all been cases where people had compromised health. There were patients in hospitals where they were given milkshakes that had Blue Bell ice cream."

White urges the public to be cautious and not consume recalled products.

"If CDC has recommended it, I would toss it out, I have some in my own freezer, and when I go home this evening it's going to go out," she said.

Any of the recalled products can be returned to the place of purchase.

"Blue Bell has told us, whether it's half-eaten or almost all eaten, we'll give them credit for it," Moreno said.

Federal regulators said Tuesday that they are now aware of 10 listeria illnesses linked to the Blue Bell products over the past five years. The CDC had earlier reported eight illnesses from Kansas and Texas, including three deaths in Kansas.

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