Blue Bell Ice Cream Back on Some Shelves Aug. 31
It's too bad the #VPPPA31 conference in Grapevine, Texas, will end before the ice cream makes it back to north Texas.
Blue Bell ice cream will be distributed again beginning Aug. 31, four months after the Brenham, Texas-based company recalled all of its products because some of them were the source of a listeriosis outbreak. Blue Bell Creameries officials announced Aug. 17 that the first phase of distribution will begin in Brenham, Austin, Houston, and parts of Alabama, with north central Texas and southern Oklahoma in phase two.
The company's announcement said Blue Bell has notified the FDA and state health officials in Alabama and Texas that distribution will resume in select markets. "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 company's plant in Sylacauga, Ala., began producing ice cream in late July. Plants in Brenham and Broken Arrow, Okla., are still undergoing facility and production process upgrades similar to those made at the Alabama plant, according to the announcement.
Ten people infected with several strains of Listeria were reported from Arizona (one individual), Kansas (five), Oklahoma (one), and Texas (three). Illness onset dates ranged from January 2010 through January 2015. Those with illness onsets during 2010-2014 were linked to strains found in Blue Bell ice cream samples. All 10 were hospitalized, and three died in Kansas.
Blue Bell's announcement said ice cream products will be distributed in parts of 15 states initially, due to its limited production capacity from a single facility.
The timing of Blue Bell's return is unfortunate for thousands of safety professionals who will be attending the #VPPPA31 conference in Grapevine, Texas, Aug. 24-27, most of them departing before the beloved ice cream makes it back to north Texas grocers' shelves. Weather.com predicts the daily high temperatures in Dallas/Fort Worth during the conference's four days will range from 99 to 102.