Blue Bell is to start phased ice cream distribution

Blue Bell is to start phased ice cream distribution

Blue Bell Creameries has announced plans to start re-distributing ice cream to select markets following the recent listeria outbreak that rocked the US business.

The company said it has notified the US Food and Drug Administration and state health officials in Alabama and Texas of its plan to re-enter select markets on a limited basis from 31 August.

In April, Blue Bell announced it was pulling all ice cream products from the market after its products were linked to a fatal listeria outbreak.

"Over the past several months we have been working to make our facilities even better, and to ensure that everything we produce is safe, wholesome and of the highest quality for you to enjoy," Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bell, said.

The Blue Bell production facility in Sylacauga, Alabama, began producing ice cream in late July. Additional production facilities in Brenham, Texas, and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma are still undergoing facility and production process upgrades.

Blue Bell said it will re-enter parts of 15 states in five phases. The first phase will include the Brenham, Houston and Austin, Texas, areas, as well as parts of Alabama, (Birmingham and Montgomery) where the product is being made.

This will be followed by north and central Texas and southern Oklahoma; south-west Texas and central Oklahoma; the majority of Texas and southern Louisiana - before the completion of the states of Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas and the start of distribution in Arkansas, Florida, northern Louisiana and Mississippi.

The fifth phase will also include only parts of the following states: Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Blue Bell said it will move on to each phase based on product availability and when it can properly service the customers in an area.