*Update* CDC: 10 listeria illnesses now linked to Blue Bell foods

*Update* Federal regulators say they're now aware of 10 listeria illnesses linked to ice cream and other products made by Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries over the last five years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had previously reported eight illnesses from Kansas and Texas, including three deaths in Kansas.

The agency said Tuesday that two more illnesses have been confirmed in Oklahoma and Arizona.

CDC says those sickened fell ill between January 2010 and January 2015.

Blue Bell recalled all of its products late Monday after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeria bacteria.

The recall includes ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks distributed in 23 states and abroad.

This is an update to a previous story. The original version is as follows:

Blue Bell Creameries is recalling all of its products on the market after two samplings of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for listeriosis.

Blue Bell's chief executive Paul Kruse said in a statement Monday night that the company "can't say with certainty" how the bacteria was introduced to the manufacturing line.

The company last month issued its first recall after ice cream contaminated with listeriosis was linked to three deaths at a Kansas hospital. Five others in Kansas and Texas were sickened with the disease.

The foodborne illness was tracked to a production line in Brenham, Texas, and later to a second line in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

The recall extends to retail outlets in 23 states and internationally.

"We're committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe," Kruse said.

The products being recalled are distributed to retail outlets, including food service accounts, convenience stores and supermarkets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming and international locations.

"At every step, we have made decisions in the best interest of our customers based on the evidence we had available at the time," Kruse said. "At this point, we cannot say with certainty how Listeria was introduced to our facilities and so we have taken this unprecedented step. We continue to work with our team of experts to eliminate this problem."

Blue Bell is implementing a procedure called "test and hold" for all products made at all of its manufacturing facilities. This means that all products will be tested first and held for release to the market only after the tests show they are safe. The Broken Arrow facility will remain closed as Blue Bell continues to investigate.

In addition to the "test and hold" system, Blue Bell is implementing additional safety procedures and testing including:

  • Expanding our already robust system of daily cleaning and sanitizing of equipment
  • Expanding our system of swabbing and testing our plant environment by 800 percent to include more surfaces
  • Sending samples daily to a leading microbiology laboratory for testing
  • Providing additional employee training
Blue Bell expects to resume distribution soon on a limited basis once it is confident in the safety of its product.

Consumers who have purchased these items are urged to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. For more information consumers with questions may call 1-866-608-3940 Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. CST or go to bluebell.com.

Kruse issued a video statement Monday night, you can watch it here.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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