The maker of a popular brand of ice cream announced yesterday that it is conducting a voluntary recall of all its products due to concerns of listeria contamination. Blue Bell Ice Cream, a Texas based manufacturer of frozen dessert products, issued the recall for products made at all of its facilities as the company works to find the source of contamination and implements new product testing protocols.
Maintaining food safety can be challenging, of course. It requires constant attention to detail, meticulously following proper procedures, and, sometimes, being willing to take losses when products may be compromised. Unfortunately, many food producers are too focused on the their bottom line, instead risking consumer safety and food poisoning outbreaks to save a few dollars in preventive losses.
There has been substantial media attention and reaction from affected patients regarding metal-on-metal hip implants over the last decade or so. Of course, one of the most famous examples is the articular surface replacement, or ASR, implant which was manufactured by DePuy Orthopaedics, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. Tens of thousands of the devices were implanted in patients before injuries, immobility, and even metal poisoning led to their recall in 2010.
A ruling in federal court this week declared that the Boy Scouts of America would not be held responsible for an outbreak of E. coli which affected a Virginia scout camp back in 2008. In his decision to dismiss the case against the youth organization, U.S. District Judge Norman Moon indicated that there was no gross negligence on the part of scout leaders, but that the litigation against the food supplier could move forward.
With food poisoning outbreaks occurring on a fairly regular basis, and recalls being announced even more frequently, foodborne illness represents a considerable health concern to many Americans. Often, a recall or government agency notification will provide advice on how to prevent food poisoning, either in general or as related to a specific threat or pathogen.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed an outbreak of Listeria monocytogenes infections at a hospital in Kansas resulting in three deaths to date. Local and state officials, the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are currently investigating the outbreak in which five people contracted listeriosis, a form of food poisoning caused by the Listeria monoctyogenes bacterium.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced that food poisoning outbreaks related to raw milk increased by nearly 70 percent in the last several years. Between 2007 and 2009, 30 such outbreaks were reported, growing to 51 from 2010 to 2012, causing nearly 1000 illnesses. Outbreaks, defined as two or more cases from a common source, occurred in 26 states, including Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Iowa.