According to CBS News, the U.S. Justice Department is launching a criminal investigation into Blue Bell Creameries. The company is accused of distributing listeria-contaminated ice cream linked to three deaths and multiple other illnesses.
The company recalled its products in April 2015. The following month, the FDA released a report detailing the food manufacturer’s unclean and unsafe practices. A Houston Chronicle article quoted Blue Bell workers who described a dirty air vent that dripped into the product, a lack of hot water to properly clean equipment, re-used packaging, and malfunctioning machines that sliced off employees’ fingers. The employees allege that their complaints to management were ignored.
CE Exclusive: When Ice Cream Costs Fingers … and Lives
The FDA also announced that Blue Bell was aware of its contamination problems as early as 2013.
The DOJ is investigating what Blue Bell what management may have known about these potentially deadly hazards, when they first learned of it, and what was done in response, according to CBS News.