FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Before Blue Bell is allowed back on store shelves in Texas and Oklahoma, health departments in both states will take several steps to make sure the ice cream is safe.
Blue Bell has entered into voluntary agreements with the Texas Department of State Health Services and Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, which detail the cleaning and sanitizing procedures that will be carried out at Blue Bell production plants. The creamery will also change its testing procedures and will put new actions into place to prevent future contamination problems. New employee training initiatives are also a part of the agreement.READ MORE: Granbury Mayor Nin Hulett Resigns Following Felony DWI Arrest
Once Blue Bell is producing ice cream again, there will be a testing period before it will be sold in stores. In Texas, Blue Bell must notify the health department two weeks before the ice cream can be sold so the department can run its own tests and Blue Bell’s test results can be reviewed. State health inspectors will monitor the tests and results at the Brenham plant.
The agreement continues for another two years after Blue Bell resumes selling ice cream, and requires the company to report any positive listeria tests within 24 hours. For the next year, Blue Bell must test all finished ice cream and wait for negative test results before they can be sent to stores for sale.READ MORE: North Texas Graduates Navigate Next Chapter Amid Pandemic Job Market
“We are committed to meeting the high standards and expectations of our customers and our regulatory agencies,” said Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse in a written statement. “State and federal regulatory agencies play an important role in food safety, and we hope that it will be reassuring to our customers that we are working cooperatively with the states of Texas and Oklahoma in taking the necessary steps to bring Blue Bell Ice Cream back to the market.”
Blue Bell is also in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration. A similar agreement is expected to be signed with the state of Alabama, another state where Blue Bell owns a production facility.MORE NEWS: North Texas School Districts Facing Possible Lawsuits Over Mask Policies