Blue Bell Launches Major Cleaning, Training Project

In the wake of the Listeria outbreak, the ice cream manufacturer is looking to make improvements to facilities in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Blue Bell Creameries has vowed to make a "fresh start" by implementing an intensive cleaning program program while also conducting a new training program for employees at all four of its production facilities in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas.

This comes one week after the company removed all products from store shelves while it combats a Listeria outbreak that has been linked to at least 10 victims, including three who died. The company said it has found evidence of the potentially deadly bacteria on two lines in its main plant in Brenham and in two lines in a closed plant in Broken Arrow, Okla.

"After a thorough review of operations and discussions with an expert microbiologist, it was decided this cleaning and training program will greatly benefit Blue Bell," the company said in a news release. "Ice cream being produced this week will be used for testing and gathering baseline data and will not be sold to the public."

Some of the training and improvements include: highly aggressive cleaning techniques, increased actions focused on sanitation and cleanliness, strengthening of standard operating procedures, enhancements to the preventative maintenance program, and equipment design changes.

"We've always worked to make the very highest-quality ice cream," Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and president, said in a prepared statement. "We intend to make a fresh start, and that begins with intensive cleaning and enhanced training. This is a paradigm-shifting event at Blue Bell, and we want to put in place new systems to drive continuous improvement."

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