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Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries was aware that it had listeria in an Oklahoma plant as early as 2013 but failed to act, The Houston Chronicle reported Thursday, citing the Food and Drug Administration. (Tweet this)
Earlier this year, the ice cream chain issued its first-ever recall after three people died from a listeria outbreak tied to the brand's "Scoops" product. The FDA's report showed similar sanitation failures at the company's other plants in Texas and Alabama.
"You failed to demonstrate your cleaning and sanitizing program is effective in controlling recurring microbiological contaminations,'' the report said.
Inspectors found that water condensation in the Oklahoma plant dripped into ice cream containers during production. According to the Chronicle report, Blue Bell did not act at all or not enough after conducting its own testing in 2014 in which coliform bacteria levels were found to be higher than state regulations allow.
The company has recalled all of its products and could not be reached for comment by the Chronicle or Reuters.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said listeria monocytogenes are organisms that can cause serious infection and can be deadly for newborns, elderly people and those with weak immune systems.
Healthy people may suffer short-term symptoms such as high fever, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
—Reuters contributed to this report.