Blue Bell Creamery sentenced to record $17.25 million fine over listeria outbreak

Blue Bell Creamery

KTRK News reports Blue Bell Creameries will have to pay $17.25 million as a criminal penalty stemming from their role in a 2015 listeria outbreak that killed three people.

The fine and forfeiture amount is the largest-ever criminal penalty following a conviction in a food safety case.

According to the plea agreement, Blue Bell acknowledged that it failed to recall contaminated products or issue any formal communication to inform customers about the potential listeria contamination.

The company was informed about samples testing positive for the pathogen prompting company officials to direct delivery route drivers to remove remaining stock of the impacted products according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The company highlighted those corrective actions in its statement following the record penalty.

“Today’s court action closes a difficult chapter in Blue Bell’s history. We are a new, different and better Blue Bell. We learned hard lessons and turned them into determination to make the safest, most delicious ice cream available, with upgraded production facilities, training, safety procedures, and environmental and product testing programs,” the company said in a statement.

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