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Mar 20, 2015

Mac & Cheese and Blue Bell Ice Cream Recalled in Belize

Macaroni and cheese is a staple in most pantries in households in Belize. It’s a kids favorite; but, let’s be honest, even adults enjoy it. The same goes for ice-cream, a sweet treat that just about everyone enjoys. That’s why many consumers were alarmed this week when it was reported that the popular Kraft brand Mac & Cheese and Blue Bell Ice Cream products were being recalled. How much at risk are we in Belize? Well, we’d say fifty-fifty. Here’s what I found out today.

 

Marleni Cuellar reporting

In the past week, two food items available in Belize have been recalled. On Friday March 13, Blue Bell Creamery issued a recall of 5  of its ice cream products and on Tuesday March 17, Kraft Foods issued a recall of over 200 thousand cases of its popular mac & cheese, the original flavor. In the case of Kraft, the recall was prompted after some consumers reported finding metal pieces in their boxes.

 

Cassia Castillo-Marin, Marketing Manager, San Cas Group, Distributor Kraft Products

Cassia Castillo-Marin

“This past Tuesday we received a letter…we did not need to worry…of course we still took the extra precaution…by the metal contents.”

 

Senior Public Health Inspector, Javier Alpuche says that both Public Health & BAHA have been actively following up on the recalls.

 

Javier Alpuche, Senior Public Health Inspector, Central Health Region

“We have also visited other major supermarket in Belize city but so far we have not across it. While we are the exclusive importers we have parallel importers as well so we know our stock is safe so if you purchase from us you’re fine. What would be your advice to consumers about purchasing the product? They need to look specifically at these labels just to makes sure consumers are safe if they are there.”

While, Kraft recall includes very specific manufacturing date that will help consumers to know which products are safe, in the case of blue bell, 5 ice cream products are being completely removed from the market. This is after the FDA issued a consumer advisory after three deaths in Kansas were linked to listeria bacteria as a result of consuming tainted blue bell products.  The symptoms can take appear a few days or a few weeks after consumption.

 

Javier Alpuche

Javier Alpuche

“We received information that certain products that could have been imported into Belize could have been infected with listeria but most importantly the agent for those products. Have they been able to confirm whether contaminated products are in the country? Well it’s difficult to say because with those products we did not happen to receive them but we have removed and disposed off. Anyone who consume these products can have any signs of symptoms  but not immediately. If you come across these products do not consume it do not eat it but remove them.”

 

In Belize, only 3 of the 5 are available in Belize and of the 3, Blue Bell’s Chocolate Chip Country Cookie and Almond Bar are the only two that are currently  in the market. The Sour pop green apple bar was previously sold and this is all that remains from the stock. Distributor of Blue Bell, Willam Zhao says all his customers have been informed to remove the items from the freezers and destroy. The remaining stock in storage at Artic Cold Ltd on the Phillip Goldson Highway was removed by the Ministry of Health today, a sample of which will be tested.

 

William Zhou

William Zhou, Williams Supermarket, Agent Blue Bell Products

“We done move all of the product out of the market; every shop, everywhere we done move all the products that are like these two products. These are the only two products that had to be removed? They are the only two products we imported. They have another 5 but we no import it.”

 

Miguel Figueroa, Director of Food Safety, BAHA

Miguel Figueroa

“We are going to collect some of the samples because we have been told that bug actually grow in that condition just to see if we can isolate the bug.”

 

According to Zhou customers who have already purchased the almond bar and chocolate country cookie products can return them to Williams store & they’re money will be refunded. Marleni Cuellar reporting for News Five.

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2 Responses for “Mac & Cheese and Blue Bell Ice Cream Recalled in Belize”

  1. Oli says:

    I buy my ice cream and cheese from Western Dairies

  2. Rosita says:

    Western dairies has the best ice cream! Taste so much better than Blue Bells ice cream.
    Buy Belizean products any chance I get.

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