Blue Bell Reopens Brenham Plant
The company said its operations are currently on a limited basis as the company seeks to confirm that new procedures, facility enhancements, and employee training are effective, and that ice cream it produces will be closely monitored and tested.
Blue Bell Creameries resumed operations at its Brenham, Texas, facility on Nov. 18 and also announced that it will begin phase three of its five-phase market re-entry plan on Dec. 14. "We are excited to announce that Blue Bell Ice Cream is once again being made at our main production plant in Brenham," said Greg Bridges, vice president of operations for Blue Bell. "Over the past several months, we have been preparing our facility for this day. We are very thankful for the patience and support our customers have shown Blue Bell."
As phase three begins, 215 employees who had been put on paid furlough will be brought back to work, according to the company, which resumed distribution of its ice cream products Aug. 31, four months after the Brenham-based company recalled all of its products because some of them were the source of a listeriosis outbreak. Ten people infected with several strains of Listeria were reported from Arizona (one individual), Kansas (five), Oklahoma (one), and Texas (three), with illness onset dates ranging 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.
The company said its operations are currently on a limited basis as the company seeks to confirm that new procedures, facility enhancements, and employee training are effective, and that ice cream it produces will be closely monitored and tested. "There is no firm date for when ice cream from the Brenham facility will be available for sale," according to its announcement.
"We continue to fill stores in phase two, but we can now focus our attention on the addition of phase three beginning Dec. 14," said Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bell. "This phase includes most of Alabama and Texas, and it is our largest phase so far."