Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries issued a voluntary recall for all of its products late Monday after two samples of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream tested positive for potentially deadly Listeria bacteria.
Blue Bell's chief executive said in a statement that he "cannot say with certainty" how the bacteria was introduced to the manufacturing line.
"We're committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe," Paul Kruse said.
The latest recall includes ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks distributed in 23 states and international locations because other products "have the potential to be contaminated," according to the statement.
The first recall in the family-owned creamery's 108-year history was issued last month after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention linked ice cream contaminated with listeriosis to three deaths at a Kansas hospital. Five others in Kansas and Texas were sickened with the disease, which can cause fever, muscle aches, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
The foodborne illness was tracked to a production line in Brenham, Texas, and later to a second line in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The most recently contaminated samples were discovered through a testing program the company initiated after its first recall, according to the statement.
The recall extends to retail outlets in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wyoming and international locations.
A manufacturing facility in Oklahoma where operations were suspended earlier this month for sanitizing will remain closed as Blue Bell continues to investigate the source of the bacteria, the statement said.
Blue Bell is also implementing a process to test all of its products before releasing them to the market, with plans to resume limited distribution soon.
The company said it is also expanding its cleaning and sanitization system, beefing up its employee training, expanding its swabbing system by 800 percent to include more surfaces and is sending daily samples to a microbiology laboratory for testing.
Listeria primarily affects pregnant women and their newborns, older adults and people with immune systems weakened by cancer, cancer treatments, or other serious conditions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.