Blue Bell ice cream has returned to grocery stores from Mississippi and Louisiana on Monday, December 21, after being noticeably absent for a period spanning across 8 months.
Ice cream produced by Blue Bell Creameries, a food company headquartered in Brenham, Texas, was initially voluntarily recalled back in April. Moreover, operations were halted at several production facilities, located in Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma.
The reason for this decision, made public by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, was linked to the fact that consumption of Blue Bell ice cream was believed to have sickened 10 persons from 4 states.
The customers had contracted the Listeria monocytogenes bacteria, and eventually three persons from Kansas lost their lives following this contamination.
Now, the ice cream company has announced that it would be resuming the commercialization of Blue Bell products, after revamping its operations, so as to boost safety and cleanliness.
Apparently, the food producer has taken measures so as to insure that no pathogens reach ice cream during its production cycle. Moreover, its activity is now strictly supervised by an independent consultant, with significant expertise in microbiology.
In addition, much more effective sanitation practices have been introduced, in order to make sure that the ice cream is being manufactured under hygienic conditions, and safely stored and transported up until it reaches supermarket shelves.
After the company took all these corrective steps, authorities allowed it to re-open its factory from Sylacauga, Alabama, at the beginning of August. Another plant from Brenham, Texas resumed its activity on November 18, after months spent ensuring that all safety standards are successfully met.
Around 1,000 employees who had been placed on temporary paid leave also returned back to work, and Blue Bell Creameries has began slowly but steadily re-introducing its products in supermarkets, starting from August 31.
At the time, it was announced that the ice cream would become available in certain stores from Alabama and Texas, and eventually be commercialized in 15 states across the nation.
Now, the beloved desserts are also being sold throughout the state of Louisiana, and also in Jackson, Mississippi and its adjacent areas.
Currently, the flavors that can be found in supermarkets include Homemade Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, Buttered Pecan, The Great Divide and Cookies ‘n Cream. They are now packaged in pints, as well as half gallons.
It is expected that other assortments of the popular ice cream will be added gradually, in the following weeks, as customer demand increases. Also, starting from January 11 Blue Bell ice cream will also be found in Memphis Tennessee and Little Rock, Arkansas, as part of a recently announced “bonus phase”.
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