In an alarming turn of events, Blue Bell is once again at the center of attention as reports of an ammonia leak rocked the Broken Arrow plant early Sunday Morning.
Authorities have closed Highway 51 for 30 minutes, according to a report on News on 6, while workers contain the contamination.
Marty Kilgor, the company’s plant manager, said in an interview they were alerted by warning devices on the levels of ammonia in the plant.
Plants Closed, 3 Deaths
Blue Bell has closed its production plants in Sylacauga, Alabama, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and Brehham, Texas, after the Food and Drug Administration found several sanitation issues now linked to three deaths.
The company has recalled its products late April. In a report from USA Today, Blue Bell CEO Paul W. Kruse said they are “heartbroken” to pull the products out of the shelves.
According to the company’s release, the recalled products, specifically the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, “…have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headaches, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.”
The FDA has found the following issues in Blue Bell’s three plants:
– Workers are not sanitizing hands thoroughly.
– They are not in the habit of frequent cleaning.
– There were condensation issues with some liquid dripping into ice cream directly.
– The Coliform levels are way over the permitted standards.
In another report from News on 6, FDA is confident that Blue Bell knew of the Listeria contamination in its plants but never reported it. FDA then conducted its own investigation.
The company’s spokesman, Joe Robertson, said in the USA Today interview, “We’re looking at design issues. We’re doing eveything we can. We’re 100% sure we have safe products going out in the shelves.”
“Hang in there with us.”