Blue Bell to Test New Quality-Control, Safety Procedures at Alabama Plant

By | July 13, 2015

Blue Bell Creameries said July 8 that it plans to test production runs at its Alabama plant as the company inches toward putting its ice cream back on grocery store shelves.

Blue Bell notified Alabama health officials and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of its plans for its plant in Sylacauga, Ala. The company shut down production and issued a national recall after the company’s ice cream was linked to 10 listeria illnesses in four states, including three deaths in Kansas.

The Brenham, Texas-based company issued a statement saying the limited production runs will test the effectiveness of new procedures, facility enhancements and employee training. After the trial period, the company will begin building inventory to resume commercial sales.

“We have been working diligently to prepare our facilities to resume test production, and our focus throughout this process has been to ensure the public that when our products return to market, they are safe,” Greg Bridges, vice president of operations for Blue Bell, said in a statement.

“We are very excited about taking these important first steps as part of the process of getting high-quality Blue Bell products back to consumers,” Bridges said.

The company said there is not a firm date for the test production runs to begin or for the return of Blue Bell ice cream to the marketplace.

Listeria is a type of bacteria that can cause serious illness, particularly in older adults, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. The contaminated products have been found at the company’s Texas and Oklahoma plants.

Tests found listeria on a plant catwalk at the Alabama factory, but not in the ice cream samples produced there, Alabama State Health Officer Don Williamson said.

Blue Bell entered into a voluntary agreement with regulators on steps and changes to bring its ice cream back on the market.

Williamson said both state health officials and Blue Bell will test the ice cream produced during the trial production runs.

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Latest Comments

  • July 14, 2015 at 11:25 am
    InsGuy says:
    Care to wager on that? I would bet that it will fly off the shelves and not keep pace with demand.
  • July 14, 2015 at 9:48 am
    Agent says:
    Blue Bell had a great reputation for quality for many years. It was very surprising when this trouble started. I think they will be back on a smaller scale, but it will take... read more
  • July 13, 2015 at 6:34 pm
    barb wired says:
    Blue Bell said their product has been coming out tainted since 2012! My stomach was just getting used to the listeria, now I will have to get used to some other exotic ingredi... read more

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