Blue Bell signs deal with Alabama to begin reshelving ice cream

In+this+April+21%2C+2015+file+photo%2C+a+sign+explains+why+shelves+sit+empty+of+Blue+Bell+ice+cream+at+a+grocery+store+in+Dallas.+Blue+Bell+Creameries+will+lay+off+more+than+a+third+of+its+workforce+following+a+series+of+listeria+illnesses+linked+to+its+ice+cream+that+prompted+a+nationwide+recall%2C+the+Texas+company+announced+Friday%2C+May+15%2C+2015+%28AP+Photo%2FLM+Otero%2C+File%29

In this April 21, 2015 file photo, a sign explains why shelves sit empty of Blue Bell ice cream at a grocery store in Dallas. Blue Bell Creameries will lay off more than a third of its workforce following a series of listeria illnesses linked to its ice cream that prompted a nationwide recall, the Texas company announced Friday, May 15, 2015 (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Maggie McVey

 

In this April 21, 2015 file photo, a sign explains why shelves sit empty of Blue Bell ice cream at a grocery store in Dallas. Blue Bell Creameries will lay off more than a third of its workforce following a series of listeria illnesses linked to its ice cream that prompted a nationwide recall, the Texas company announced Friday, May 15, 2015 (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)
In this April 21, 2015 file photo, a sign explains why shelves sit empty of Blue Bell ice cream at a grocery store in Dallas. Blue Bell Creameries will lay off more than a third of its workforce following a series of listeria illnesses linked to its ice cream that prompted a nationwide recall, the Texas company announced Friday, May 15, 2015 (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

Associated Press

Blue Bell Creameries and the Alabama Department of Public Health have entered into a voluntary agreement outlining a series of steps and actions Blue Bell will take as part of its efforts to bring Blue Bell products back to market.

The Alabama agreement is similar to agreements reached last month between Blue Bell and Texas and Oklahoma state regulatory agencies.

The agreement details actions Blue Bell will take to help give the public confidence that when its products return to market, they are safe, company officials said.

The actions include rigorous facility cleaning and sanitizing, revised testing protocols, revised production policies and procedures designed to prevent future contamination, and upgraded employee training initiatives.

When the company is ready to resume production, the voluntary agreement also calls for a trial production period before ice cream is distributed to consumers.

“We hope that the agreement between Blue Bell and the Alabama Department of Public Health will reassure our customers that we are taking the necessary steps to bring Blue Bell Ice Cream back to the market,” Blue Bell CEO and president Paul Kruse said.

In this April 10, 2015 file photo, Blue Bell delivery trucks are parked at the creamery's location in Kansas City, Kansas. Blue Bell ice cream had evidence of listeria bacteria in its Oklahoma manufacturing plant as far back as March 2013, a government investigation released Thursday says. The company then continued to ship ice cream produced in that plant after what the Food and Drug Administration says was inadequate cleaning. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)
In this April 10, 2015 file photo, Blue Bell delivery trucks are parked at the creamery’s location in Kansas City, Kansas. Blue Bell ice cream had evidence of listeria bacteria in its Oklahoma manufacturing plant as far back as March 2013, a government investigation released Thursday says. The company then continued to ship ice cream produced in that plant after what the Food and Drug Administration says was inadequate cleaning. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner, File)

The agreement signed today includes provisions specific for addressing Listeria, including:

  • Conducting root cause analyses to identify Listeria’s potential or actual sources
  • Retaining an independent microbiology expert to help establish and review controls to prevent the future introduction of Listeria.
  • Notifying the Alabama Department of Public Health promptly of any presumptive positive test result for Listeria monocytogenes found in ingredients or finished product samples and providing the state agencies full access to all testing
  • Ensuring the company’s pathogen monitoring program for Listeria in the plant environment outlines how the company will respond to presumptive positive tests for Listeria species
  • Instituting a “test and hold” program to assure that products are safe before they are shipped or sold.

“The details of this agreement are very similar to those we’ve made in Texas and Oklahoma,” Kruse said. “This will guide us back to producing the safe high-quality products that Blue Bell is known for.

Blue Bell halted all production in April after Listeria was detected at its plants in Oklahoma and in Brenham. Listeria has not been found in its Alabama facilities.

(Visited 38 times, 1 visits today)