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Blue Bell president Ricky Dickson testifies as government witness against his friend

AUSTIN Richard S. Ricky Dickson, the existing President at Blue Bell Creameries, testified Wednesday as a government witness against his predecessor and one-time mentor, Paul Kruse.

Dickson took over from Kruse in 2017 at the Brenham, TX, company known because of its flagship make of Blue Bell ice creams.

He testified on the 3rd day of Kruses jury trial for conspiracy and fraud charges stemming from the deadly 2015 listeriosis outbreak. Three people dies in the outbreak, which sickened at the very least 10.

Through the outbreak, which ended with Blue Bell shutting down its production facilities and recalling all its products, Dickson was Vice President of Sales and second in the business and then Kruse.

Under questioning from defense attorney Chris Flood of Houston, Dickson acknowledged he was the main topic of a target investigation by the federal Department of Justice from 2019, 2 yrs after he became Blue Bell president.

Then obtained an individual attorney and exercised a non-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice, including a minumum of one session in Washington D.C. Dickson. said that telling the reality was his only obligation beneath the agreement.

Dickson is really a Blue Bell veteran who held top sales and production jobs over four decades before getting into C-suite.

Dickson was vice president of sales through the 60-odd days cited in the indictment.

His testimony on Wednesday primarily contains claiming that Kruse and Kruse alone determined Blue Bells messaging through the outbreak. Blue Bells outbreak crisis began on Feb. 13, 2015, when two of 10 of its products tested positive for Listeria by South Carolinas food lab.

Those products were stated in Brenham, TX, on a so-called gram machine within an area separate from primary ice creme production. Dickson claims he wanted an instantaneous recall, but Kruse chosen a withdrawal of the merchandise that tested positive, eventually expanded to all or any products made on the gram machine.

Dickson said he went along: This is brand new if you ask me.

In later testimony Wednesday, it arrived that Kruse did report the SC findings to FDAs Reportable Food Registry and was likely dealing with the federal regulators from that time onward.

It’s possible that the Kruse intend to dispatch Blue Bells 1,500 driver/salespeople to get the suspect products was at the very least distributed to FDA in advance.

Dickson said he still considers Kruse a pal, and he acknowledged that whenever Kruse was a law student, he helped Dickson do an undergraduate study of Blue Bell.

As Blue Bells president, Dickson has expanded the companys reach and sales alongside its offerings of flavors.

However, he might be most widely known for settling the corporations criminal issues with the government.

Under Dickson, the business decided to pay criminal penalties totaling $17.5 million and $2,1 million to solve False Claims Act allegations regarding ice cream products manufactured under unsanitary conditions and sold to federal facilities, like the military.

The full total $19.35 million in fines, forfeiture, and civil settlement payments was the second-largest total resolve a food safety matter.

Along with Dickson, the prosecution called school district, hospital, and restaurant personnel who have been Blue Bell customers in 2015 and weren’t satisfied by the explanations these were given for the project withdrawals. Most were told of machine problems or quality issues, but nothing concerning the Listeria investigation.

Those testifying said none of the patients, students, or customers began sick, however the experiment caused them to terminate buying Blue Bell products.

The jury trial will complete its first week on Friday. The trial judge has warned them to arrange for at the very least two more weeks.

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