Blue Bell expands distribution in Texas, Oklahoma
After returning products to select markets in August, Blue Bell Creameries announced it has started phase two of its plan to reintroduce its ice cream into 15 states. On Monday, the company began making deliveries to stores located in the Dallas, Fort Worth and Waco, TX areas as well as Tulsa and Oklahoma City, OK for the first time since this past spring after a Listeria contamination at company plants forced a nationwide recall.
“In preparation for phase two, we have spent the past several weeks building our inventory,” says Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bell. “But, it will take time to reach every account in these areas. We are working as quickly as we can to get product in stores and will be refilling shelves as needed.”
Blue Bell returned to stores in select markets—which included the Austin, Brenham and Houston, TX areas as well as Birmingham and Montgomery, AL where the product was produced—on August 31.
For now Blue Bell is producing five flavors of ice cream in the half gallon and pint sizes: Buttered Pecan, Cookies ’n Cream, Dutch Chocolate, Homemade Vanilla and The Great Divide. More flavors will be added in the future. The company is also selling Homemade Vanilla Cups and Homemade Vanilla and Dutch Chocolate Cups in stores.
Texas-based Blue Bell issued a nationwide recall and stopped production at all its plants earlier this year after some of its ice cream products were linked to an outbreak of Listeriosis. CDC confirmed 10 people in four states had Listeriosis related to the outbreak. Five individuals were patients treated at a single hospital in Kansas who were served ice cream from Blue Bell’s single-serving products and milkshakes made from these products. Three deaths also have been reported. Listeriosis did not cause the deaths, though it may have been a contributing factor, according to Kansas health officials.