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Blue Bell Ice Cream Recall After Listeriosis Linked to 3 Deaths

The three deaths in Kansas were not caused by an illness contracted from tainted Blue Bell ice cream, but it could have been a contributing factor.
Image: Blue Bell ice cream
This photo shows a container of Blue Bell ice cream Friday, March 13, 2015, in Dallas. Kim Johnson Flodin / AP

Texas ice cream maker Blue Bell announced a recall Friday after three people in Kansas died after developing a foodborne illness linked to the company’s products.

Listeriosis didn't cause the deaths, Kansas Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Sara Belfry told The Associated Press, but it may have been a contributing factor.

Five adults in Kansas developed listeriosis after eating products produced at the Blue Bell creamery in Brenham, Texas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in a statement. Three patients died. All five were being treated for unrelated health problems at a Wichita hospital when they became ill.

Listeriosis is a serious infection caused by eating the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes and is especially dangerous for the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, the FDA said.

All five were being treated for unrelated health issues at Via Christi St. Francis hospital in Wichita, Kansas, when they became ill, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Four of the patients had consumed milkshakes made with "Scoops," a Blue Bell ice cream product, while in the hospital, the CDC said.

Listeria bacteria were found in samples of Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Country Cookies, Great Divide Bars, Sour Pop Green Apple Bars, Cotton Candy Bars, Scoops, Vanilla Stick Slices, Almond Bars and No Sugar Added Moo Bars, according to the FDA.

Blue Bell said the recall did not include "half gallons, quarts, pints, cups, three gallon ice cream or the majority of take-home frozen snack novelties."

— Jillian Sederholm

The Associated Press contributed to this report.