Blue Bell Lovers Turn To Craigslist For Exceedingly Expensive Pre-Owned Treats

(Kusine)

(Kusine)

With local grocery stores’ freezer shelves still void of any Blue Bell Creameries products and no timeline for when they might return, those with a serious love of the ice cream brand are turning to a black market of sorts to get their fix.

The Washington Post reports that the massive recall of Blue Bell products potentially contamination with listeria has left fans willing to empty their wallets for the pints, tubs, sandwiches and bars posted in online marketplaces such as Craigslist.

The ice cream company recalled all of its products last month after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found listeria bacteria in several frozen treat items produced in Blue Bell’s plants. That strain of bacteria, which may date back at least five years, has been linked to three deaths and at least 10 illness in four states to illnesses.

While federal health officials have warned consumers to toss out any Blue Bell products they may have sitting in the freezer, not everyone is heeding the warning.

Instead, some consumers are posting their stash of Blue Bell items on Craigslist for outrageous markups when compared to grocery store prices.

Some posters are selling half-eaten containers of Blue Bell products.

Some posters are selling half-eaten containers of Blue Bell products.

A post from the Austin Craigslist page shows two gallon-size Blue Bell containers of Strawberry and Natural Vanilla Bean ice cream, along with two fruit bars for $4,000.

“Mother load of Blue Bell!” the post states. “I’m selling containers only for legal reasons, but I looked up the codes and these were not part of the listeria recall. Product inside is free with purchase. My family ate what is missing and we are fine. Buyer assumes all responsibility. Serious buyers only.”

While that poster may have offered several Blue Bell items for sale, others have a much more limited supply.

Houston’s Craigslist page includes a post for a Blue Bell Fudge Bar for $100. That’s right, it’s just one bar.

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 4.32.33 PM“I have one Blue Bell Fudge bar left,” the post states. “It may be a while before we get anymore.”

Another Austin post that has since been flagged for removal aimed to sell a pint of Blue Bell Krazy Kookie Dough for $10,000.

According to the Washington Post, that ad promised “Blue Bell goodness” to prospective buyers.

“Purchased just mere weeks ago, this is like an oasis in the desert for you ice cream lovers,” the seller stated. “Buyer assumes all responsibility for transport, and or any Listeria contracted from product as well.”

The market for pre-owned Blue Bell treats reportedly began last month when a CBS affiliate in Texas found products for sale on eBay. Those items were selling for a more reasonable price (compared to the Craigslist posts) of around $50 for a gallon.

However, eBay told the station it had removed all the listings, because of the health risks the may posed to consumers.

In other Blue Bell listeria outbreak news today, the company announce it has agreed to a new testing and reporting regime at its Texas and Oklahoma plants, Food Safety News reports.

The agreement with the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry says the company inform state health officials at least two weeks before starting production of ice cream to be sold in the marketplace so the agencies can assess progress and test results.

Additionally, Blue Bell will provide trial production runs of its products for separate listeria testing by the two states.

“The products must consistently test negative before they can be distributed to the public,” the DSHS says in a statement. “A trial run with negative test results must occur for each production line before the line can begin making ice cream for sale.”

The agreement further stipulates that for two years after production begins again the company must report within 24 hours any presumptive positive test result for Listeria in a product or ingredient.

And or one year after resuming production, Blue Bell must implement a so-called “test and hold” procedure for products, meaning they must show negative results before being distributed.

The new black market for Blue Bell ice cream [The Washington Post]
Blue Bell Agrees to Listeria Testing and Reporting Regime for Plants in Texas and Oklahoma [Food Safety News]