Several foodborne outbreaks of Listeria monocytogenes have occurred recently, most notably from contaminated Blue Bell ice cream. To date, there have been at least 10 confirmed cases and at least 3 deaths from strains matching those isolated from Blue Bell ice cream. On April 20, the company recalled all of its products and stopped production at all of its facilities for thorough cleaning and disinfection. ATL estimates that each week of stalled production costs the company approximately $12 million dollars in sales and inflicts incalculable damage to the well-established brand. The infections, deaths, and damage to Blue Bell’s brand underscore the need for rigorous, validated disinfection processes and microbiological scrutiny of incoming raw materials at all food manufacturing facilities.
Sabra brand hummus has also been recalled recently. To date, no cases of Listeriosis have been documented from the contaminated hummus, but it may still be in circulation and Listeriosis can take months to appear.
Listeria monocytogenes, the causative agent of the recent outbreaks, is not typically a concern for healthy people, but causes serious and possibly fatal infections in pregnant women, the elderly, the immunocompromised, infants and young children.