Blue Bell Agrees To Pay $19M In Fines For 2015 Listeria Outbreak

It’s alleged that the former CEO of the company concealed what the company knew about the listeria contamination.

It could be remembered that Blue Bell was in the news for contaminated ice cream. It seems that  the company has to pay $19 million in fines, according to ABC.

“Blue Bell Creameries agreed to pay more than $19 million in fines and forfeiture as part of a plea agreement on two misdemeanor counts for shipping contaminated ice cream, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.”

The former CEO Paul Kruse was also charged with seven felonies, including wire fraud and conspiracy. It’s alleged that he concealed what the company knew about the listeria contamination. His lawyer, Chris Flood, stated that Kruse “did the best they could with the information they had at the time.”

The Texas ice cream company also stated that they have “learned hard lessons” from the outbreak and that food safety is its “highest priority.”

The 2015 Listeria outbreak took the lives of three people. It’s believed that the contamination happened because of a drainage system in Oklahoma. As we previously reported, just last month, Chipotle was ordered to pay $25 million in food safety fines, which is the largest fine to date.

“On Tuesday, Chipotle agreed to pay the largest food safety fine ever imposed, according to the U.S. Justice Department. The restaurant was charged with two counts of violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by “adulterating food while held for sale after shipment in interstate commerce,” prosecutors said.

If the company complies with “an improved food safety program,” it will avoid conviction the Justice Department stated.

Chipotle failed to “ensure that its employees both understood and complied with its food safety protocols, resulting in hundreds of customers across the country getting sick,” Nick Hanna, U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, stated.

Today’s steep penalty, coupled with the tens of millions of dollars Chipotle already has spent to upgrade its food safety program since 2015, should result in greater protections for Chipotle customers,” he continued.

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