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Blue Bell: Several Months Before Ice Cream Back In Stores

A government investigation found that Blue Bell ice cream had evidence of listeria bacteria as far back as March 2013.


BRENHAM, Texas (AP) — Blue Bell Creameries says it will be at least several months before its products are back in stores as the Texas-based company works to resume operations after a series of listeria illnesses linked to its ice cream prompted a total product recall.

Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse said Thursday that ongoing cleaning and sanitizing of its four productions facilities in Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama, along with new training for employees, will take longer than initially anticipated.

Kruse says Blue Bell is committed to a process ensuring “the highest quality and safety of our products for our customers.”

A government investigation found that Blue Bell ice cream had evidence of listeria bacteria in its Oklahoma manufacturing plant as far back as March 2013.

A report made public Thursday found that the Texas-based company continued to ship ice cream produced in that plant after what the Food and Drug Administration said was inadequate cleaning.

Three listeria deaths in Kansas are now linked to the ice cream, along with seven illnesses in Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona. Blue Bell Creameries recalled all of its products last month, following several smaller recalls.

The government investigations involved Blue Bell plants in Oklahoma, Texas and Alabama. The most extensive violations were found in Oklahoma, where the FDA listed 17 separate positive tests for listeria on equipment from March 2013 through February 2015.


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