Blue Bell identifies areas where listeria may be present; company says ice cream safe to eat

By Sierra Tuthill

Blue Bell has been making its way back to local grocery stores, but recent concerns have some customers worried the frozen treat might leave the shelves again. Blue bell recently identified areas where listeria may be present such as on floors and in floor drains in their Brehnam plant.
A statement from Blue Bell said that the ice cream on shelves is safe to eat. No products have tested positive and no products are shipped to stores until tests confirm that the ice cream is safe.
The company added that they have an enhanced environmental testing process in order to detect locations where the bacteria could be found in order to properly sterilize the surface and prevent contamination after the last outbreak.
Blue Bell stated that 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,” according to CBS News.
A store representative at the University Drive Kroger said that despite recent concerns people are “absolutely still buying Blue Bell products.”
The University Drive Kroger, which is a prominent grocery store for TCU students, has not seen any sort of decrease in Blue Bell sales, according to Kroger public affairs specialist Tanya Quiambao.
Blue Bell was brought back to the DFW area on November 2nd and Quiambao said several customers lined up at the doors to stock up on favorite Blue Bell products.
“Blue Bell has a very loyal customer base. We are looking forward to adding more flavors, seeing as our store only carries five at the moment,” said Quiambao.
While Blue Bell signed agreements with health officials in Texas, Oklahoma and Alabama to inform the three states about positive test results in the food products or ingredients, the company does not have to notify the states of any probable results for listeria on floors or other surfaces that do not have contact with food.
Three people died last year due to the food-borne illness found in some of the ice cream products. In its 108 years of business, the company had never had a recall. Blue Bell recently started restocking its products back onto shelves after the outbreak.
Update Jan. 20, 5.31 p.m.: This story was updated to reflect that Blue Bell identified areas where listeria  may be present. A previous version stated Blue Bell had found listeria present.