It took 4 months, but Blue Bell Creameries of Texas has resumed shipping its ice cream products after listeria contamination halted sales and production.
The company announced the shipments via Twitter and Facebook and said that its trucks "are on the road again" and filled with ice cream products. However, the company did not say when and where Blue Bell products would be sold.
In April, Blue Bell voluntarily recalled all of products after its ice cream was linked to 10 cases of listeria illness in four states, including three deaths in Kansas. The company shut down and started extensive cleaning and decontamination at its plants in Texas, Alabama, and Oklahoma.
According to documents released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Blue Bell Creameries knew of listeria contamination problems at its factories in Oklahoma in 2013.
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams of Ohio also recalled all its products in recent months due to listeria contamination. Jeni's reopened its plant in Columbus a few months ago after retraining its employees on new safety procedures. No Jeni's product was linked to any illnesses caused by listeria
Listeria is a bacterium that can cause serious illness in frail people and pregnant women. It is found in soil and water and can be carried by animals. Unlike most bacteria, it can grow in cold temperatures, which means that it can grow in refrigerated foods that have been contaminated and can survive in frozen foods like ice cream.
The disease caused by listeria is called listeriosis. Most deaths due to listeriosis occur in the elderly or in people with compromised immune systems. However, listeriosis can be fatal in pregnant women, and can cause miscarriages, premature births, and make newborns seriously ill. Most healthy children or young adults who become infected have few problems.