Blue Bell Creameries began recalling all products on Monday, April 21st due to listeria outbreaks that have claimed three lives and made others ill.
CEO and President of the corporation, Paul Kruse, released this statement regarding the ongoing incident:
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 are confident that they are all safe. At every step, we have made decisions in the best interest of our customers based on the evidence we had available at the time. We have brought in one of the world’s most respected food safety microbiologists to inspect our plants and systems to help us get to the bottom of this issue.
Through further internal testing, we learned today that Listeria monocytogenes was found in an additional half gallon of ice cream in our Brenham facility. While we initially believed this situation was isolated to one machine in one room, we now know that was wrong. We need to know more to be completely confident that our products are safe for our customers.
As Blue Bell moves forward, we are implementing a procedure called “test and hold” for all products made at all of our manufacturing facilities. This means that all products released will be tested first and held for release to the market only after the tests show they are safe.
In addition to the “test and hold” system, Blue Bell is implementing additional safety procedures and testing including:
– Expanding our already robust system of daily cleaning and sanitizing of equipment
– Expanding our system of swabbing and testing our plant environment by 800
percent to include more surfaces
– Sending samples daily to a leading microbiology laboratory for testing
– Providing additional employee training
At this point, we cannot say with certainty how Listeria was introduced to our facilities. We continue to work with our team of experts to eliminate this problem.
We urge consumers who have purchased Blue Bell products to return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with any concerns or questions should call 1-866-608-3940 Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. CST or go to www.bluebell.com for the most up-to-date information.
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.
The United Family is taking all products off their shelves. They also released a statement that reads:
“On April 20, 2015, Blue Bell Ice Cream issued a voluntary recall of all products produced at all facilities including ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks. As such, The United Family of stores immediately removed all Blue Bell products from shelves at its store banners, including United Supermarkets, Market Street, Albertsons Market, Amigos and United Express. The CDC recommends consumers check their freezer for any Blue Bell products and either throw them out or return them to the store. United Family guests who recently purchased Blue Bell products may return them for a full refund. As always, food safety and the health of our guests remain a top priority.”