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DALLAS (CBS11) – It’s been nearly a year now since North Texans welcomed the return of Blue Bell ice cream like a long lost rock star. Now, blaming cookie dough supplied by an Iowa vendor, a second recall linked to suspected Listeria contamination has some experts wondering if the ‘little creamery in Brenham’ has pushed the ties of Texas loyalty to its limits.
“I love Blue Bell,” insisted Loni Custer while loading two gallons into her car in Dallas Tuesday. “I grew up with Blue Bell and I’ll always eat Blue Bell.”
When asked if she was concerned about the company’s latest listeria scare and subsequent recall, Custer’s response was quick: “Not at all.” Clearly, die hard Blue Bell fans don’t care. “I have complete faith in them.”
The Texas-based company promised vigilance as it worked to rebuild customer loyalty in the wake of last year’s Listeria outbreak. Customers were sickened in several states, and at least three deaths were believed connected to the tainted ice cream.
A nationwide recall of all Blue Bell products soon followed. After shutting down its plants for a thorough cleaning and implementing new procedures, Blue Bell was banking on customer loyalty for a successful rebound.
“People deserve a second chance. Companies deserve a second chance… everyone’s rooting for them,” said SMU Cox School of Business Professor Daniel Howard at the time. “But, they better get it right,”
But, now he says for some customers, that the source of the suspected contamination is a third part won’t matter.
“The fact that Blue Bell ice cream is involved in another recall is the point that will matter to them,” said Professor Howard.
“I’m really not worried at all,” said Lynn Oszustowicz. The owner of Dallas sweet shop Pokey O’s sells Blue Bell exclusively, so they’re hoping for the best.
“Blue Bell has communicated very clearly that this was a problem with one of their suppliers of an ingredient,” said Oszustowicz. “And as long as they’ve stopped using that ingredient. I don’t have any fear that we’re going to have a bigger recall.”
Throughout the day, CBS11 watched as customers contemplated the gold rimmed treats in grocery store freezers. Some even admitted to considering passing on the purchase. But, while we watched. Every customer caved. It’s far from scientific. But, so far, loyalty, for many, still strong.
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