Federal agency traces listeria in Blue Bell product to Iowa

Blue Bell ice cream rests on a grocery store shelf in Lawrence, Kansas. In the wake of a deadly listeria outbreak in ice cream, the Justice Department is warning food companies that they could face criminal and civil penalties if they poison their customers. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)

BRENHAM, Texas (AP) — Federal inspectors have confirmed that listeria found in a brand of Blue Bell ice cream, prompting another recall of its products, originated with a third-party supplier.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter last month to Iowa-based Aspen Hills detailing the company’s failures in preventing contamination.

The contamination that forced the Blue Bell recall in October was traced to Aspen Hills’ chocolate chip cookie dough.

Blue Bell credited its testing program with identifying the presence of listeria in the dough.

At the time, Blue Bell was regaining some of its market share following a debilitating recall the year before resulting from 10 listeria cases in four states, including three deaths in Kansas.

Aspen Hills ceased production at the end of December.

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