Blue Bell Says Ice Cream Will Be Back In Some Stores On Aug. 31

The nightmare is over, Blue Bell fans: four months after a recall linked to a listeria outbreak saw the ice cream disappear from shelves, months filled with speculation over when the company would start churning out dessert again, Blue Bell will be returning to select stores starting Aug. 31.

The company announced the news on its website on Monday, a few days after Tweeting about its trucks hitting the road again.

Blue Bell writes that it’s notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state health officials in Alabama and Texas of its plan to start selling the ice cream in certain cities on a limited basis.

“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,” said Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing for Blue Bell. “This is an exciting time for us as we are back to doing what we love…making ice cream!”

The company’s production facility in Sylacauga, Ala., began producing ice cream in late July, and is currently the only one making ice cream. Blue Bell facilities in Brenham, Texas, and Broken Arrow, Okla., “are still undergoing facility and production process upgrades similar to those made at the Alabama plant,” the company says.

The company also hasn’t announced which flavors were part of the early batches, but a health official in Alabama told news outlet WFAA that flavors that were part of the test were only “homemade vanilla” and Dutch chocolate.

There’s a five-phase plan to bring Blue Bell to 15 states:

Phase One: Brenham, Houston and Austin, Texas, areas, as well as parts of Alabama, (Birmingham and Montgomery) where the product is being made, starting Aug. 31.
Phase Two: North central Texas and southern Oklahoma
Phase Three: Southwest Texas and central Oklahoma
Phase Four: The majority of Texas and southern Louisiana.
Phase Five: Complete the states of Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas and begin distribution in Arkansas, Florida, northern Louisiana and Mississippi. This phase will also include only parts of the following states: Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

There aren’t any specific dates set for phases two through five. The timing of each phase will depend on product availability and when Blue Bell can properly service the customers in an area.

Though all products were recalled in April, Blue Bell’s recall of listeria-tainted products began in March with certain desserts. Ten people were hospitalized and three died due to listeriosis traced to Blue Bell products.

And remember, if you’re still holding onto old containers of Blue Bell: even though the Centers for Disease Control deemed the listeria outbreak over in June, folks with freezers full of the recalled products could still get sick.

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