BLUE BELL PRESIDENT RICKY DICKSON TESTIFIES IN PAUL KRUSE TRIAL

  
Ricky Dickson

Current president and CEO of Blue Bell Creameries, Ricky Dickson, took the stand this week to testify during the federal trial of former president and CEO Paul Kruse.

Dickson told prosecutors on Wednesday that he did not agree with Kruse holding off on communicating with the public about the 2015 listeria outbreak.  Dickson, vice president of sales at the time, said the company became aware of some unsafe ice cream products in mid-February 2015 and began withdrawing the bulk items from the market, but did not send out press releases to alert customers until mid-March.

Dickson also disagreed with Kruse’s decision to withdraw products that tested positive for listeria, saying he instead wanted an immediate recall.   A full recall of all products was not issued until April 20, 2015.

During that time, prosecutors accuse Kruse of instructing employees to tell customers there was a problem with a manufacturing machine upon picking up ice cream, if they were asked about it.  Officials from Blue Bell clients like schools, hospitals and restaurants testified they were not told of any health issues relating to the listeria investigation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported three deaths and 10 hospitalizations as a result of the outbreak.  Dickson said the deaths occurred before February, when Blue Bell first received positive listeria lab results, so no one became sick due to how Kruse chose to handle the situation.

Paul Kruse

Kruse is being tried on federal felony conspiracy and fraud charges.  The company pleaded guilty separately to two counts of distributing adulterated food products in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.  The company paid $19.35 million in fines, forfeitures and civil settlement payments, the second-largest amount ever paid to resolve a food safety matter.

Dickson said the Department of Justice agreed not to prosecute him if he would testify in the case.

The trial continues next week.

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7 Comments

  1. Although I agree with you all that Listeria is Everywhere in Food, You are all missing one Point, The executives Including Kruse knew about it and chose to try and cover it up and not report it. That is the issue at hand.

  2. There is no right way to do the wrong thing and hind sight is 20/20 . Mr. Kruse made a bad call but don’t we all at some time make call and we the people the regular folks we have to suffer the consequences of that bad call as he should. Sad fact of life for regular folks is you can go from a hero to a zero with just one bad call. Justice for all.

    1. Bad call? He gambled with peoples lives. Knowingly and willingly! And lost! Unfortunately that is a little more than a bad call. Justice for all.

      1. Listeria is in almost everything cold food related mostly cold cuts made without preservatives such as market made sausage. It can be harmful or deadly to those with compromised immune systems. So if your immune system is comprised better watch what you eat. We roll the dice God determines the outcome.

        1. Your correct Steve! Listeria is in our very own homes and we just don’t know it. You can leave your ice cream on the counter open for 10 seconds to defrost little to make it easier to scoop and it could be contaminated with listeria. Also, those who so say passed away from this had under lying health issues that the press isn’t saying. Look up the symptoms of listeria and doesn’t show anything about being deadly, just diarrhea.

          1. Kind of similar to all those Covid deaths. Most folks, rest their souls, who supposedly died from Covid had serious underlying conditions. What’s the common denominator??? Government institutions that will do anything they can to control folks, scare folks, destroy folks…whatever will benefit themselves. The FDA works with an agenda…they have all the taxpayer funded resources they need to pursue their goals.

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