Blue Bell ice cream, one of America’s most beloved ice cream brands, issued a nationwide recall last year after it was discovered that some of its factories were contaminated with Listeria. Several people claimed to have developed infections from the Listeria in the contaminated ice cream. Now, the company is starting to restock in local supermarkets and groceries.
Blue Bell ice cream shipments are being delivered starting this Monday in Jacksonville and Brunswick. To find out whether the ice cream is safe to eat, Blue Bell says to check the label on the bottom of each carton. The letter found in the six-digit code on the bottom will be replaced by a three-digit number in the new cartons. The number will denote the plant in which the carton was churned and provide information about the production line. Cartons with the three-digit numbers will be safe for consumption.
Early last year, the CDC announced that several samples of Blue Bell ice cream were contaminated, and linked the ice cream to severe cases of Listeria infections in Kansas. Blue Bell recalled its products after a total of 10 Listeria cases were connected to the ice cream, including three deaths. The company fired hundreds of employees in an attempt to restore funds after lost profits from the recall.
While many lamented the recall and eagerly awaited Blue Bell’s return, others were not so supportive. Class action lawsuits were filed against Blue Bell for its negligence to sanitize and maintain the plants in which the ice cream was made.
Blue Bell has, since then, complied with officials across the country to test ingredients in its factories and also ensured that none of the contaminated ice cream remained on shelves. The company wanted to reintroduce the ice cream in markets beginning Jan. 18. The date was delayed after the company stated that Listeria was found in one of its facilities this year.
That being said, residents can still purchase the ice cream on shelves. The company reconfirmed that all of the released batches of ice cream have been tested for Listeria – and none have tested positive. Apart from Jacksonville, Blue Bell ice cream is also available in Florida, Atlanta, and Tennessee.