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Journal of Business Ethics Education

Volume 18, 2021

Laura Gordey, Sue Joiner, Joanna Shaw
Pages 279-284

Blue Bell: The Deadly Scoop

Texas’ beloved Blue Bell Creameries was one of the leading ice cream brands worldwide until contaminated products issues culminated in 2015. During the outbreak, three people died and Blue Bell was forced to issue a total product recall. Governmental investigations revealed the company knew its production facilities had contamination issues as early as 2009. In 2020, Blue Bell pled guilty to shipping contaminated ice cream and paid over $19 million in fines. Paul Kruse, Blue Bell’s long-standing president, was alleged to have ordered the cessation of a product contamination testing program and to have ordered the destruction of evidence that confirmed contamination. As a result of his alleged actions, Kruse was charged with seven criminal counts. Students must step into the role of Kruse, critically think through the consequences of action and inaction at the management level, and consider possible alternatives from various ethical perspectives.