SANIBEL, Fla.- Four months after Blue Bell Creameries pulled its products following a deadly listeria outbreak, a local man who got sick from eating the contaminated ice cream continues recovering.
Brent McRae retired to Sanibel with his wife Carol in 2003 from Atlanta, Georgia where he worked for the Centers for Disease Control.
In April 2015, McRae fell deathly ill and had to be hospitalized. His wife says doctors told her that her husband of 50 years would likely never regain consciousness.
A deeply religious woman, Carol McRae says she prayed and her prayers were answered. Her husband did indeed regain consciousness. However, now there was the nagging question– just how did he get sick?
Carol McRae says one of her two sons was watching the news when he noticed stories about ice cream contaminated with listeria and jotted down a Blue Bell hotline.
She called the hotline and had an in-depth conversation with a Blue Bell employee who seemed very concerned and promised a call back.
McRae says that call never came. So she tried to get the Blue Bell Cookies and Cream ice cream in her freezer tested by both federal and state agencies but had no luck. A state agency employee gave her a list of eight private agencies where she could pay out of pocket for a lab test.
She found a lab in Miami, paying $315 plus overnight shipping costs of $84. The test came back positive for listeria.
WINK News called Blue Bell in June when we originally told the McRae’s story and again for this story. Blue Bell did not issue any comment.