Blue Bell ordered to pay $17M fine in listeria outbreak

Talk 1370 Newsroom
September 17, 2020 - 2:56 pm
Blue Bell ice cream

Jamie Squire/Getty Images


AUSTIN ( -- Blue Bell Creameries has been ordered to pay more than $17 million in criminal penalties connected to the company's listeria outbreak in 2015.

The $17.25 million fine, which Blue Bell agreed to in a May 2020 plea deal in the case, is the largest-ever criminal penalty following a conviction in a food safety case according to the Department of Justice.

Related: Former Blue Bell CEO charged with conspiracy, wire fraud in 2015 listeria outbreak

"American consumers must be able to trust that the foods they purchase are safe to eat," said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. "The sentence imposed today sends a clear message to food manufacturers that the Department of Justice will take appropriate actions when contaminated food products endanger consumers."

The 2015 listeria outbreak led to the closing of the company's flagship Brenham creamery for several months, and prompted a product recall of more than 8 million gallons of ice cream. Ten cases in four states were connected to the outbreak, which resulted in three deaths in Kansas.

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