Given a green light from health officials in Alabama, Blue Bell Creameries has resumed ice cream shipments four months after listeria contamination halted sales and production.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday (Aug. 11), the Brenham, Texas-based company said:
"Our trucks are on the road again… And yes, they are filled with Blue Bell Ice Cream! We’ll let you know soon when and where you can find our products in stores." There also was a video of a Blue Bell truck pulling out of a plant.
On March 22, the Kansas Dept. of Health & Environment reported one positive test for Listeria monocytogenes on a chocolate institutional/foodservice cup recovered from a hospital in Wichita, Kan. That cup was produced in the Broken Arrow, Okla., plant.
After recalling only the 3-oz. foodservice cups from that plant, Blue Bell found listeria in samples from several of its plants, and it shut down all operations on April 20.
Altogether, its ice cream products were linked to 10 listeria illnesses in four states, including three deaths in Kansas.
News reports this week said the Alabama Dept. of Public Health placed "no restrictions" on the sale of ice cream made at the Sylacauga, Ala., plant. That plant drew eight "observations" from FDA inspectors, including "failure to perform microbial testing where necessary to identify possible food contamination," but there was no mention of listeria being found there.