She is called the “Lufkin Licker” and could face both state and federal charges. The woman posted a video of herself opening a container of Blue Bell ice cream at a Walmart store and licked the top . . . then put the top back on and returned the ice cream. according to Fort Worth’s KTXA-TV. the disgusting act led police to scour stores for security tapes and they have now zeroed in on this woman from a security tape in Lufkin, Texas.The company had to remove all of the containers of its Tin Roof-flavor ice cream as a precaution. As a result, the costs of this crime are considerable.
I cannot imagine what would possess someone to do such a disgusting act and take joy from the thought of a stranger eating from the tampered container. Not only did she find this obviously funny but wanted others to see her do it.
Police are promising charges against the woman. This could be charged as either a state or federal offense. Under federal law, it is a crime to tamper with food products. 18 U.S. 1365 states in part:
“(a)Whoever, with reckless disregard for the risk that another person will be placed in danger of death or bodily injury and under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to such risk, tampers with any consumer product that affects interstate or foreign commerce, or the labeling of, or container for, any such product, or attempts to do so, shall—
What is interesting is that the Texas law stipulates that the tampering must be capable of causing probable serious bodily injury. That seems curiously narrow since this woman could claim that her saliva does not threaten or contain dangerous pathogens or disease. Moreover, tampering may simply be intended to deter sales by committing disgusting acts without a threat of serious bodily injury. Here is the pertinent language:
(a) In this section:
(1) “Consumer Product” means any product offered for sale to or for consumption by the public and includes “food” and “drugs” as those terms are defined in Section 431.002, Health and Safety Code .
(2) “Tamper” means to alter or add a foreign substance to a consumer product to make it probable that the consumer product will cause serious bodily injury.
(b) A person commits an offense if he knowingly or intentionally tampers with a consumer product knowing that the consumer product will be offered for sale to the public or as a gift to another.
(c) A person commits an offense if he knowingly or intentionally threatens to tamper with a consumer product with the intent to cause fear, to affect the sale of the consumer product, or to cause bodily injury to any person.
(d) An offense under Subsection (b) is a felony of the second degree unless a person suffers serious bodily injury, in which event it is a felony of the first degree. An offense under Subsection (c) is a felony of the third degree.
The damage caused to this company is not necessary the threat of serious bodily injury but a huge drop in sales and the costs of pulling every container of this ice cream. The company can of course sue the woman but something tells me that she is not going to cover the costs.
What do you think would be an appropriate sentence?
After the video hit the Internet on Friday, Blue Bell began investigating Walmart locations in San Antonio, Houston and eventually Lufkin after social media comments suggested the woman was from the San Antonio area.
The company honed in on the Lufkin location after a Blue Bell division manager said “unique merchandising” found on his store’s display shelves matched the background of the video.
“Our biggest concern is consumer safety – in that regard we are glad to see the tainted product off the shelves,” Gerald Williamson, Lufkin’s director of public safety, said on the town’s Police & Fire Facebook page.
Blue Bell reps said the company’s ice cream is packaged upside down in a way that freezes the ice cream to the roof of the container on purpose so that any tampering can be easily spotted by the consumer, according to Dallas–Fort Worth’s FOX 4.
The ice cream manufacturer has faced contamination issues in the past. In 2015, Blue Bell halted production after 10 people were hospitalized across four states from eating ice cream infecting with listeria, CBS News reported. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that three people in Kansas died that year from eating the bacteria-tainted ice cream and warned the public against consuming Blue Bell products.
Lufkin, a city of about 36,000 residents, is about 120 miles northeast of Houston.