Blue Bell Ice Cream Gears Up for Return Following Listeria Outbreak

PHOTO: Blue Bell ice cream rests on a grocery store shelf in Lawrence, Kan. in this April 10, 2015 file photo.PlayAP Photo
WATCH Blue Bell Ice Cream Preps Comeback After Listeria Outbreak

The 108-year-old ice cream company Blue Bell Ice Cream announced they are prepping to return to store shelves later this month after shutting down production due to a listeria outbreak.

The outbreak was connected to 10 illnesses, including three deaths according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The company completely stopped production in April in order to retrain all employees and enhance preventative measures.

“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 in a statement.

Blue Bell officials said production would resume on a “limited basis” at one plant to confirm “that new procedures, facility enhancements and employee training have been effective.”

There is no date, however, for when ice cream might hit grocery shelves again.

Food Safety Expert Sandra Eskin, of the Pew Charitable Trusts, said for best practices the company should break down the ice cream-making process and look for any spots where contamination can occur.

“Listeria lives in places like drains…you really got to look everywhere,” said Eskin. “They have to design a monitoring system that’s designed to catch it. You can sample and not catch it, that’s easy.”

On social media, the news had fans cheering.