Why is the Department of Justice Investigating Blue Bell Creameries?

What information we know suggests unsanitary working conditions in Blue Bell factories.

By Laura RiceDecember 31, 2015 10:41 am, ,

The Department of Justice is investigating Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries. What’s known about the investigation comes almost exclusively from a recent CBS report. But why are they interested in the ice cream company?

Dianna Wray, staff reporter for the Houston Press, has been raising this question. She says the Justice Department became curious about what management knew, what they didn’t, and about how Blue Bell’s factories became contaminated with listeria, a food contamination bacteria that can cause infection and even death.

“This has been going on for years, according to the FDA,” she says.

The Department of Justice doesn’t typically speak about its targets for investigations, Wray says, and Blue Bell isn’t talking either. Wray has reached out to the company for information, but hasn’t gotten a response.

“I just seems like everybody’s being quiet on both sides about what actually is going on,” Wray says.

An investigation is never criminal until it is, Wray says, but troubling information has been revealed about factory conditions.

“The FDA found in their investigations that Blue Bell had known about this listeria being in their plants for years,” Wray says. “They had known that is was near the ice cream without ever testing the ice cream . . . It’s the kind of things that the Justice Department would, it sounds like, be interested in because it could be criminal wrongdoing if they knowingly shipped out contaminated products to people and got them sick and possibly killed three of them.”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.