Blue Bell ice cream returns to grocery stores in Texas and Alabama today, August 31, and loyal customers are overjoyed. The nation’s third-largest ice cream producer recalled its products from stores on April 20, 2015, a final precaution that came a month after the ice cream was linked to three Listeria deaths in Kansas. Reports from the Houston Chronicle say that a total of 10 people fell ill from consuming the tainted ice cream before it was completely pulled by the FDA.
Despite listeria concerns, Blue Bell fans are out there showing their love and support. ABC News reports that customers lined up in the early hours of the morning at grocery stores in Texas and Alabama to cop a pint or three of the ice cream they’ve been missing for six months.
Blue Bell’s return is the first step in a five-stage plan to re-enter supermarkets in 15 states, or eight less than the 23 the company serviced before the recall. The Texas-based company will follow the same distribution growth pattern that Blue Bell followed when it first started 108 years ago. The ice cream’s initial return to stores this week will only be in Alabama and parts of Texas, or places that can be readily accessed by the company’s only FDA-approved factory in Sylacauga, Alabama. Blue Bell’s other production plants still have to be more thoroughly cleaned and outfitted with new equipment before an FDA inspection will allow them to resume business.
For now, Blue Bell is producing four flavors: Homemade Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, Cookies ‘n Cream, and Great Divide.
[via Houston Chronicle]