Four Months After Recall, Blue Bell Getting Back on Track

Brenham, Texas-headquartered Blue Bell Creameries has announced that it resumed ice cream distribution to select markets on August 31. In April the company voluntarily recalled all of its ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks from the market after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that a number of illnesses caused by Listeria monocytogenes contamination were linked to Blue Bell products.

Our-Ice-Cream-April-2015“Over the past several months we have been working to make our facilities even better, and to ensure that everything we produce is safe, wholesome and of the highest quality for you to enjoy,” said Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing. “This is an exciting time for us as we are back to doing what we love…making ice cream!”

The Blue Bell production facility in Sylacauga, Alabama, began producing ice cream in late July. Additional plants in Texas and Oklahoma are still undergoing facility and production process upgrades similar to those made at the Alabama factory.

Due to the limited capacity while producing in one facility, Blue Bell will re-enter parts of 15 states in five phases. The first rollout will include the Brenham, Houston and Austin areas of Texas, as well as parts of Alabama (Birmingham and Montgomery), close to where the product is being made.

The schedule for resumption distribution elsewhere is as follows:

  • Phase Two: North-central Texas and southern Oklahoma
  • Phase Three: Southwest Texas and central Oklahoma
  • Phase Four: The majority of Texas and southern Louisiana. 
  • Phase Five: Complete the states of Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas and begin distribution in Arkansas, Florida, northern Louisiana and Mississippi. This phase will also include only parts of the following states: Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Blue Bell aims to move on to each phase based on product availability and when it can properly service customers in a given area. With the exception of phase one, no other dates have been firmed up for when each expansion will take place.

According to a recent study conducted by Yahoo Food, Blue Bell is the most popular ice cream in the USA’s Southland. It ranked No. 4 nationally behind Breyers, Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs, brands that are sold nationally while Blue Bell is distributed in only 23 states.

Interestingly, the recent uptick of ice cream product recalls has had minimal impact on consumption, as only 14% of Americans have been eating less ice cream since the latest recall. One of three persons surveyed by Yahoo Food said they didn’t even know about the recalls.