"B" as in Blue Bell Ice Cream. Blue Bell Ice Cream is a Texas company and has been linked to an outbreak of listeria. Three people have died and others have become seriously ill.
In Texas there is undying loyalty to Blue Bell Ice Cream. The company is based in Brenham, Texas. People still seem to think it's produced by a "little creamery in Brenham." However, Blue Bell is the third largest producer of ice cream in the United States. At one time there was a "little creamery," but those days are long gone. This is a big company and big companies sometimes make decisions based on profits. I believe that is what happened in this case. In Texas that is a controversial stand.
From the very beginning I've been dismayed by the loyalty people have shown for this product. Yes, the ice cream tastes good to me too, but three people have died and others probably have life long health problems now due to eating Blue Bell.
A large Houston furniture company wasted no time in running a full page ad in the Houston Chronicle days after the listeria discovery proclaiming "God Bless Blue Bell." No mention was made of the people that were killed or permanently affected from eating this listeria based product. No "God Bless" for them?
Signs proclaiming "God Bless Blue Bell" appeared in yards.
People immediately held prayer vigils for Blue Bell. Did they remember to pray for the victims of this tragedy? I sure hope so. They wanted their Blue Bell back for the summer. That seemed to be the most important thing to a lot of them.
Is it possible that subconsciously the powers that be at Blue Bell thought they were invincible because of this kind of customer loyalty? What exactly were they thinking?
The last thing anyone should pray for is a quick turn around. From what I've read listeria is very difficult to get rid of in plants. IF Blue Bell survives they need to be sure that this doesn't happen again. Another listeria scare would in all probability do them in.
I guess this all hit close to home for me. I read that one of the people that died was recovering from cancer. I watched my son go through hell and back to be cancer free today. He went through numerous rounds of chemo and two stem cell transplants to get to where he is today. Twice his immune system was practically wiped out so he could receive hopefully healthy stem cells. Over the last five years he has spent the equivalent of three months in the hospital. At times he's been very sick and lost a lot of weight. What do you offer someone with little appetite and in need of calories? Ice cream! Who hasn't offered a sick person ice cream?
I found this on the Internet:
Who is most likely to get seriously ill from Listeria bacteria?Healthy adults and children hardly ever become seriously ill from Listeria. However, people at increased risk of illness from Listeria bacteria include:
- Pregnant women – Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than the average healthy adult
- People with weak immune systems
- People with cancer, diabetes, or kidney disease
- People with AIDS – People with AIDS are 300 times more likely to get sick from Listeria than people with normal immune systems
- People who take gluticocorticosteroids such as cortisone
- Elderly people
What bothers me the most is that Blue Bell continued to sell their products to hospitals, nursing homes, and schools knowing listeria had been found in their plants. I find this pretty disturbing. At the time you and I probably didn't know much about listeria, but anyone in the food industry certainly would have known. The listeria wasn't just present in the Brenham plant. It was present in other plants too. That would seem to indicate a company wide problem. Later it came out that they had known about it for a few years.
I can understand the people in Brenham, Texas being loyal to Blue Bell. I'm sure many of Blue Bell's employees lived pay check to pay check. There just aren't that many other jobs in Brenham for these dedicated employees. After initially saying they hadn't laid off anyone in over 100 years and they wouldn't now, it happened.
I say God Bless the families of the people that were killed by listeria. God Bless the people that became ill with listeria and who have lives that will never be the same. God Bless the loyal employees (and former employees) that had nothing to do with the decisions that were made and now must pay the price.
This tragedy could have been a lot worse. Thank God it wasn't.
Please head over to Jenny's blog for a list of this week's participants. Thank you for visiting.