Listeria-Contaminated Blue Bell Ice Cream Linked to 3 Deaths

Health officials now say that listeria poisoning was a factor in the deaths, but not the sole cause

Listeria was identified in samples of a number of Blue Bell products, all linked to a single machine. 

The deaths of three patients at a hospital in Wichita, Kansas, have been linked to contamination from listeria discovered in samples of Blue Bell ice cream, The Associated Press reports.

According to a statement from the USDA, listeria bacteria were identified in samples of Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Country Cookies, Great Divide Bars, Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Cotton Candy Bars, Scoops, Vanilla Stick Slices, Almond Bars and No Sugar Added Moo Bars. A spokesperson for Blue Bell confirmed to the AP that all recalled products across 23 states have been recovered.

However, health officials in Kansas further clarified on Saturday, March 14, that while listeria is a likely contributing factor in the deaths of three of five patients receiving treatment for listeria poisoning, the bacterial infection was not the sole cause of death. Patients were treated between January 2014 and January 2015 for strains of listeria identified in Blue Bell products.


According to, health officials have since linked Blue Bell’s listeria outbreak to a single machine at the company’s Brenham, Texas facility. The machine was shut down several days before the outbreak, but symptoms of listeria can arise between three and 70 days after coming in contact with the bacteria.