Blue Bell Ice Cream Pleads Guilty to Food Contamination. Will Pay Nearly $20 Million Fine
Blue Bell Ice Cream to “plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of distributing adulterated ice cream products”, and will pay a $19.35 million fine to settle.
The plea agreement “alleges that the company distributed ice cream products that were manufactured under insanitary conditions and contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes“.
Listeria monocytogenes can cause “serious illness or death”, especially for vulnerable persons such as pregnant women, newborns, and the elderly.
According to the settlement, Blue Bell was notified of their ice cream’s contamination, but did not recall the products or alert customers about the potential listeria contamination. As a result, Blue Bell’s former president has also been charged “with seven felony counts” for his concealment from customers about what the company knew about the listeria contamination.
The $19.35 million fines is the second largest-ever amount paid in a food-safety matter.