Blue Bell and food safety violations: What you need to know

Blue Bell Creameries issued a voluntary recall Wednesday for its cookie dough ice cream flavors — including Cookie Two Step and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough — because of listeria concerns from a cookie dough supplier. Here’s what you need to know.

  • Texas is not among the ten states where possibly contaminated cookie dough ice cream was distributed. No illnesses have been reported yet, and Blue Bell will give full refunds for any of their recalled products.

  • Our own poll of readers showed that over 50 percent would still buy Blue Bell ice cream.

  • The ice cream company issued their first-ever recall last March. The outbreak was first reported to be a contained situation in March 2015, as only products from one Oklahoma Blue Bell plant were recalled. But soon after the initial recall, Blue Bell expanded their recall to all frozen desserts in April 2015.

  • As of the last recall, inspections of almost 70 ice cream production plants across Texas revealed cleanliness issues, but only Blue Bell plants had reports of listeria.

  • Alabama state health department inspectors discovered issues at the Sylacauga, Ala. plant as well as the Broken Arrow, Okla. and Brenham plants as far back as 2010. Listeria was first found in the Broken Arrow facility in 2013.

  • Many Austinites celebrated the return of Blue Bell in August 2015, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the company told federal inspectors a year after the outbreak that all sources of contamination had not been identified and/or removed. Financial losses caused by the 2015 recall are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and experts predicted that sales could plunge as much as 50 percent.

  • Ken Herman pointed out last year that loyalty to the brand leads to consumers trusting the company to effectively fix its problems. A few months after Blue Bell’s 2015 recall, Texas Monthly addressed Texans’ refusal to accept the ice cream company’s recall. “The ‘Come and Take It’ flag, the one used by soldiers in the Battle of Gonzales in 1835, showed up affixed to the Blue Bell logo all over the Internet,” Texas Monthly reported.

  • In September, there have been 22 food product recalls in Texas, not including Blue Bell’s. Earlier this year, Whole Foods was also scrutinized for food safety violations. In June, the FDA said in a letter that Whole Foods products in a Massachusetts manufacturing facility were “prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health.”

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