Now to new information about the federal government`s handling of the Texas ice cream maker Blue Bell.

EVENING-NEWS-06 ...

NEWS-06

the Texas ice cream maker Blue Bell.>

investigation into Blue Bell after their ice cream was linked to a deadly

Listeria outbreak earlier this year. Three people died.>

Now to new information about the federal government`s handling of the Texas ice cream maker Blue Bell, the subject of a CBS News investigation this fall.

(Begin VT)

JIM AXELROD: CBS News has learned the Department of Justice has started an investigation into Blue Bell after their ice cream was linked to a deadly Listeria outbreak earlier this year. Three people died. An FDA investigation found Listeria in three of Blue Bell`s production plants in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas, as well as records indicating the company knew one plant was contaminated at least as early as 2013. The FDA investigation uncovered other troubling problems, including condensation dripping directly into ice cream, and unsanitary equipment. In April Blue Bell shut down all three production facilities and recalled all its ice cream. Sources tell CBS News the Justice Department is trying to determine what Blue Bell management knew about potentially deadly hazards in their plants and when they knew it. In October Gerald Bland who worked at the Blue Bell factory in Brenham, Texas, described to CBS News, unsanitary conditions on the factory floor.

GERALD BLAND: On the wall by the three-gallon machine, if it had rained real hard and water sat on the roof, it would just trickle down that wall.

JIM AXELROD: Rainwater?

GERALD BLAND: Yeah.

JIM AXELROD: From the roof.

GERALD BLAND: From the roof.

JIM AXELROD: Would get into the factory?

GERALD BLAND: Yeah.

JIM AXELROD: Another worker, Terry Schultz, told us that his complaints to management about unclean conditions went nowhere.

TERRY SCHULTZ: The response I got at one point was, "is that all you`re going to do is come here and bitch every afternoon?`

JIM AXELROD: What do you think his message to you was?

TERRY SCHULTZ: Production is probably more important than cleanliness.

JIM AXELROD: All three of Blue Bell`s plants are now back up and running, and by the end of next month its ice cream will be back on the shelves in fifteen states.

(End VT)

JIM AXELROD: Blue Bell did not respond to our requests for comment today. This investigation into Blue Bell is being led by the same Justice Department lawyer who prosecuted the Peanut Corporation of America. The company`s owner, Stewart Parnell, got twenty-eight years for shipping salmonella contaminated peanut products. That is the longest sentence ever for a food safety-related crime.

Coming up next, walking while distracted is sending hundreds to hospitals. A former star of Glee is arrested for child pornography. And Mike Tyson loses to a hoverboard, when the CBS EVENING NEWS continues.

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