Trucks full of Blue Bell ice cream are on delivery routes for the first time since a deadly Listeria outbreak forced a temporary closure of all three Blue Bell manufacturing facilities. In a Facebook post, the company told customers they’d be hearing soon where the ice cream will be available.
Several strains of Listeria were involved in the outbreak tied to the nation’s third-largest ice cream maker. At least 10 people in four states were sickened, three of them died.
Listeria strains cultured from patients were identical to those found in ice cream made at the company’s plants in Brenham, Texas and Broken Arrow, Okla. The earliest cases were identified in 2010.
After the ice cream was linked to the outbreak, Blue Bell began a series of product recalls. Eventually, the company recalled all of its products on April 20 and halted production at all of its locations.
The five-year span of the outbreak uncovered a longstanding Listeria problem at all of Blue Bell’s plants. Reports released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed the company was aware of Listeria in its plants in 2013 but did not test the bacteria to discover if it was pathogenic or take measures to eradicate the problem.
Production of ice cream has resumed only at the company’s plant on Sylacauga, Ala. There is no word on when production at the other sites may begin.