Blue Bell Creameries ordered to pay $17.25 Million in connection with the 2015 Listeria contamination

The Justice Department announced that the federal court in Texas sentenced ice cream manufacturer Blue Bell Creameries L.P. to pay $17.25 million in criminal penalties for shipments of contaminated products linked to a 2015 listeriosis outbreak. Blue Bell pleaded guilty in May 2020 to two misdemeanor counts of distributing adulterated ice cream products.  The plea agreement and criminal information filed against Blue Bell allege that the company distributed ice cream products manufactured under insanitary conditions and contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. The sentence, imposed by U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman in Austin, Texas, was consistent with the terms of a plea agreement previously filed in the case.  However, the fines constitute the largest-ever criminal penalty following a conviction in a food safety case. Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert said that  “American consumers must be able to trust that the foods they purchase are safe to eat, and 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.” @

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