Blue Bell suspends operations at Oklahoma production plant

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HOUSTON (AP) — Blue Bell Ice Cream says it’s suspending operations at an Oklahoma production facility that officials had previously connected to a foodborne illness that contributed to the deaths of three people.

In a statement released Friday, Blue Bell says it’s “taking this step out of an abundance of caution.” It says the action is voluntary.

Last month, the company and health officials said a contaminated 3-ounce cup of ice cream was traced to a plant in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Ten products recalled earlier in March were from a production line at a plant in Brenham, Texas, the company’s headquarters.

The recall began after five patients in Wichita, Kansas, became ill with listeria while hospitalized. Officials determined at least four drank milkshakes containing Blue Bell ice cream. Three of the patients died.