Despite concern, Blue Bell promises ice cream is safe
Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries, still recovering from a nationwide recall following a listeria outbreak, is reassuring consumers its ice cream is safe to eat, despite recent enhanced testing that identified locations in its facilities where listeria bacteria may still be present.
In a statement issued Monday to the Associated Press, Blue Bell said customers “can be confident in our ice cream because of all the steps we have taken to ensure a safe product. Our enhanced testing program confirms that these procedures are working.”
Blue Bell clarified its enhanced testing report saying there have been no cases where the company was confirmed Listeria monocytogenes.
“The entire purpose of our enhanced environmental testing is to identify locations where bacteria could be found in our facility in order to properly clean and sanitize the surface and prevent contamination,” Blue Bell says. “We have tested and will continue to test every batch of ice cream produced. No products produced have tested positive. No products are shipped to stores until tests confirm they are safe. We will continue to work closely with our regulatory agencies, as we have throughout this process.”
According to the Associated Press, Blue Bell told the Texas Department of State Health Services it found a couple of environmental positives for Listeria at its Texas plant throughout the past month in non-food contact areas, but that these instances were addressed.
The company recently completed a five-phase market reentry plant to restore products to store shelves. Blue Bell recalled all of its ice cream in April last year, shutting down production at all plants, following a Listeria outbreak. The outbreak was linked to 10 cases of listeriosis, including three deaths that are believed to be associated with the contamination, according to CDC. After the investigation, FDA found the source of contamination at the Oklahoma plant likely came from condensate dripping onto equipment.