Blue Bell and Texas Health Services Reach Agreement
Blue Bell Creameries has agreed to the Texas Department of State Health Services’ requirements regarding their ice cream sales.
Product Halted Following Listeria Contamination
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has linked 10 illnesses to the resulting outbreak of listeriosis. USA Today previously reported on three deaths believed to be caused by contaminated ice cream.
Investigations have indicated that Blue Bell was aware of potential Listeria contamination as far back as 2013.
Information About the New Requirements
Blue Bell will now be required to notify health departments at least two weeks prior to the production of ice cream in order to give officials time to assess the company’s progress.
Additionally, Blue Bell must perform trial runs on each production line, and their ice cream products must test negative for Listeria contamination on a regular basis in order to be sold to the public. Health inspectors will be in Brenham to test the ice cream regularly.
The trial runs will continue for at least two years after picking up production again. Also, “test and hold” (testing the product for bacteria before being sold) procedures will be practiced for each product for at least a year after production resumes.
Positive test results for Listeria in a product have to be reported within 24 hours.