Blue Bell Will Start Distributing Ice Cream Again After Listeria Concerns

Blue Bell Will Start Distributing Ice Cream
Photo Courtesy: UPI

BRENHAM, TEXAS – August 17, 2015 (Gephardt Daily)  After recent listeria concerns and a recall, Blue Bell Creameries announced today it will begin distributing ice cream to select markets on Monday, August 31.

Blue Bell has notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state health officials in Alabama and Texas of its plan to re-enter select markets on a limited basis.

“Over the past several months we have been working to make our facilities even better, and to ensure that everything we produce is safe, wholesome and of the highest quality for you to enjoy,” said Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bell.  “This is an exciting time for us as we are back to doing what we love… making ice cream!”

The Blue Bell production facility in Sylacauga, Ala., began producing ice cream in late July. Additional production facilities in Brenham, Texas, and Broken Arrow, Okla., are still undergoing facility and production process upgrades similar to those made at the Alabama plant.

Due to the limited production capacity while producing in one facility, Blue Bell will re-enter parts of 15 states in five phases. The first of the five phases will be similar to how Blue Bell began and include the Brenham, Houston and Austin, Texas, areas, as well as parts of Alabama, (Birmingham and Montgomery) where the product is being made.  The next phases include:

  • Phase Two:  North central Texas and southern Oklahoma
  • Phase Three:  Southwest Texas and central Oklahoma
  • Phase Four:  The majority of Texas and southern Louisiana.
  • Phase Five:  Complete  the states of Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas and begin distribution in Arkansas, Florida, northern Louisiana and Mississippi. This phase will also include only parts of the following states:  Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Blue Bell will move on to each phase based on product availability and when it can properly service the customers in an area. With the exception of phase one, no other dates have been determined for when each expansion will take place.

Back in June, the Centers for Disease Control released its final report on the listeriosis outbreak caused by contaminated containers of the frozen treat.

Products from four Blue Bell factories contaminated with the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria sickened 10 people between January 2010 and January 2015, with all 10 being hospitalized and three deaths as a result.

“This outbreak investigation is over,” CDC investigators wrote in the report. “However, people could continue to get sick because recalled products may still be in people’s freezers and consumers unaware of the recalls could eat them. Institutions should not serve and retailers should not sell recalled products.”

Invesigators in March and April found that several Blue Bell products served at hospitals and one case of a consumer purchase at a store were the cause of the outbreak, leading the company to shut down its factories in Brenham, Texas, Broken Arrow, Okla., and Sylacauga, Ala., and recall of its products on April 20.

The earliest case of listeria now attributed to Blue Bell was reported in 2010, however a link wasn’t made between that first patient and the ice cream company until a routine test by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control discovered the bacteria in samples of two of the company’s products at its distribution center there in February.

During the course of March and April, listeria was confirmed to have been found by the CDC at three of Blue Bell’s factories and a private lab confirmed it at the fourth in June, nearly two months after the company pulled its products from shelves while working to comply with safety requirements in order to reopen.

For more information and to follow the company’s progress visit


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