Blue Bell Ice Cream: A Hazardous Recall

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Medienethik

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A patient enters a hospital in order to seek medical attention and with the overall idea that
they will be taken care of. But for three Kansas patients, their hospital stay turned deadly, not

because of the illness they were undergoing, but because of the food that was served to them. After eating Blue Bell Ice Cream the hospital provided to them and others around them, these
three patients died from contracting Listeria monocytogenes from the ice cream, an organism
which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly
people, and others with weakened immune systems, causing several illnesses and even death.
Last month, Blue Bell Ice Creameries, an American ice cream company based in Texas,
voluntarily recalled all of its ice cream products because of reported cases of Listeria around
regions of the United States. Three people from Kansas have died from eating the
contaminated ice cream and many more have come forward as being seriously affected by the
product in Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona. Most of the company’s business stems from
partnerships within hospitals around the nation.
According to the Washington Times, Blue Bell Ice Creameries has been aware Listeria being
a problem within their company since March of 2013. After an investigation done by the FDA
was released by request of the Associated Press through the Freedom of Information act, the
company finally came forward, admitting to their wrongdoings and recalling all of their
products from shelves and hospitals.
Although the ice cream has been taken off the shelf in all American stores, the question of
why it took so long for the company to admit to the bacteria being in their ice cream and
discontinuing their ice cream supply is on the minds of many Americans. The company's
spokesman Joe Robertson said when a test was conducted and there was a positive result for
listeria, “our standard procedure is to stop, clean and sanitize and then re-swab the area. When
we get a negative test [result], we feel like we are good about operating again...In hindsight,
we can see now that wasn't always adequate.”
Blue Bell is not the only company to make recent recalls in the U.S. Companies like Ford,
Chevrolet and Toyota have made recent car recalls, stating that their products are unsafe to
use if not monitored and replaced in some way. Food companies have recalled products in the
past because of reported salmonella cases and meat companies have recalled products because
of e coli reports.
This leads to the question of when does a company know they are in the wrong and chose to
commit a sort of white collar crime in order for their products to sell and to not receive
negative advertising. The risk of human lives being lost does not necessarily take top priority
to several companies who would rather deal with the negative result than to fix the initial
product.
In the case of Blue Bell Ice Creameries, one major factory in Oklahoma has shut down as
well as talks of a South Carolina plant to shut down. In addition, Blue Bell Ice Cream will lay
off 1,450 workers following the outbreak of listeria. But the fine line between what is socially
correct and what is beneficial for the welfare of a company and its business has been crossed,
leaving many consumers unsure about the role the brand will have in their lives for the future.
Sources:
U.S Food and Drug Administration. 14 May 2015.
http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Outbreaks/ucm438104....
ht
Bever, Lindsey. The Washington Post. 14 May 2015.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/05/14/the-black-m...
Dennis, Brady. The Washington Post. 20 April 2015.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/04/20/blue-bel...
Manyard, James. Tech Times. 17 May 2015.
http://www.techtimes.com/articles/53573/20150517/blue-bell-ice-cream-lis...

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