After three deaths and five health scares due to a listeria outbreak, Blue Bell is recalling all of its ice cream products. In the weeks leading up to the final recall, the creamery had ceased operations at two listeria-contaminated factories. But now Blue Bell has announced that, for the safety of its customers, it will voluntarily take all of its products — including ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sherbet — off the shelves. The decision to recall the ice cream came after random health inspections found listeria bacteria in half gallons of cookie dough ice cream produced in March. As of now, multiple tests for listeria in Blue Bell factories have shown up positive.
“We’re committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe,” said Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and president. “We are heartbroken about this situation and apologize to all of our loyal Blue Bell fans and customers. Our entire history has been about making the very best and highest quality ice cream and we intend to fix this problem. We want enjoying our ice cream to be a source of joy and pleasure, never a cause for concern, so we are committed to getting this right.”
While the facilities are currently closed to distribution, Blue Bell plans to implement a “test and hold” system, which will allow safety inspectors to test each and every container of ice cream for contamination. The company will also overhaul its health and safety testing by expanding its sanitation program, adding 800 employees to its testing plant, sending samples to labs for testing, and providing extra employee training.