Blue Bell Creameries, the US ice cream maker that shut its sites this spring after being linked to a listeria outbreak, is set to trial production at one of the facilities.

The company said it would test output at its site in Sylacauga in Alabama "in the next several weeks".

Blue Bell said when production would be on "a limited basis" when it re-starts as it looks to ensure new procedures and training measures introduced since the outbreak. After that trial period, the company will then start to rebuild inventory to return to the market.

"We have been working diligently to prepare our facilities to resume test production, and our focus throughout this process has been to ensure the public that when our products return to market, they are safe," said Greg Bridges, vice president of operations for Blue Bell.

Last month, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared the investigation into the outbreak - which was linked to 10 cases of sickness and three deaths - over.

The outbreak led Blue Bell to close three production sites and recall all products from the marketplace. In May, it announced around 1,400 staff would be laid off.

The Alabama site was closed despite listeria being found in ice cream made at sites in Texas and Oklahoma.

Last month, a private lab claimed it had evidence there was listeria in ice cream made at the plant in Alabama.

A man in Florida who had eaten Blue Bell ice cream from a carton that indicated the product was made in Alabama fell ill with meningitis in April, his Seattle-based lawyer Bill Marler told just-food. Marler said a test by Kappa Laboratories showed it tested positive for listeria.

At the time, Blue Bell said it was unable to comment on the claims "because this situation may involve litigation".