Blue Bell Creameries has entered an agreement with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH). Under the agreement, the company will be required to inform the state whenever there is a positive test result for listeria in its products or ingredients. The Alabama agreement is similar to those the company reached last month with regulatory agencies in Texas and Oklahoma. Blue Bell has plants in the three states. The agreements follow the Brenham, Texas-based company’s failure to tell federal or state health officials of repeated findings of listeria at its Oklahoma plant dating back to 2013.
All Blue Bell products were recalled and production at the company’s plants was suspended in April. Along with more general requirements, the agreement includes specific provisions to address listeria, including:
• Conducting analyses to identify potential or actual sources.
• Hiring an independent microbiology expert to help establish and review controls to prevent future listeria contamination.
• Promptly notifying the Alabama Department of Public Health of any presumptive positive test result found in ingredients or finished product samples and giving state agencies full access to all testing.
• Ensuring that the company’s pathogen monitoring program outlines how it will respond presumptive positive tests for listeria species.
• Instituting a “test and hold” program to assure that products are safe before they are shipped or sold.
Hopefully, the problems at all of the Blue Bell plants will be corrected. This agreement – along with the others – is a step in the right direction.
Source: Insurance Journal
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