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A former US ice cream CEO has been indicted for covering up Listeria contamination

Blue Bell Ice Cream is seen on shelves of an Overland Park grocery store prior to being removed on April 21, 2015 in Overland Park, Kansas. Blue Bell Creameries recalled all products following a Listeria contamination. | Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The US Department of Justice charged the former president and CEO of Blue Bell Creameries with seven counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud on Tuesday, alleging he worked to cover up Listeria contamination in its ice cream.

The Listeria outbreak in America was related to 10 hospitalisations and 3 deaths, according to the US CDC.

In February of 2015, authorities notified Blue Bell that some of its ice cream products tested positive for Listeria, according to the Department of Justice. Paul Kruse, who Blue Bell's CEO and president at the time, "orchestrated a scheme to deceive certain Blue Bell customers" by asking store employees to pull ice cream from store freezers without telling stores or customers about the ice cream's link to the Listeria outbreak, the Department of Justice alleged. Instead, Kruse told employees to tell customers that there was "an unspecified issue with a manufacturing machine," according to the Department of Justice.

In addition, Blue Bell did not immediately recall the ice cream products or tell customers about the contamination concerns, the Department of Justice alleged. Instead Kruse waited until April, two months after Texas State Health officials first notified the company, according to the indictment.

"American consumers trust that the individuals who lead food manufacturing companies will put the public safety before profits,"  said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark of the Justice Department's Civil Division. "The Department of Justice will take appropriate action against those who ship contaminated products and choose not to tell consumers about known risks."...

Source: Business Insider