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article imageBlue Bell reassures customers over finding of Listeria at plant

By Karen Graham     Jan 8, 2016 in Food
Brenham - Brenham, Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries issued an update on its enhanced procedures and the current conditions at its production facilities Thursday night, and the information is not what consumers wanted to hear.
In the update released on January 7, Blue Bell assured its loyal customers it is strictly adhering to "enhanced operations, policies, employee training and cleaning procedures to help give regulatory agencies and the public assurance that all aspects of our facilities and operations are resulting in a safe product."
Blue Bell continues, telling consumers the company has "identified locations where suspected Listeria species may be present in our facility." The company is testing every batch of ice cream it produces, and to date, Listeria contamination has not been found in any of the products.
The company also points out that Listeria is present in the environment, including soil, and can thrive in temperatures ranging from 4°C (39.2°F) (the temperature of a refrigerator), to 37°C (98.6°F), making it very difficult to eradicate.
Blue Bell says, “To confirm that our robust environmental program is effective and that our ‘seek and destroy’ goals are being achieved, we expect to periodically find microbiological indications in our facilities.”
Customers who have been loyal to the company need reassurances that another outbreak of Listeriosis isn't going to happen and this concern is important enough that Blue Bell mentioned it is testing every batch for the pathogen twice in the update.
Yet it is understandable that consumers are still a bit wary of the company's products, especially after the Justice Department opened an investigation into Blue Bell Creameries on December 29 that is focusing on the conditions at the facilities dating back to as early as 2013, according to a Digital Journal story.
The DOJ is also faced with the challenge of determining when company officials became aware of the conditions at the plants, and what Blue Bell executives actually knew about the bad sanitation inspection reports, and why they apparently chose to ignore them. The Blue Bell outbreak killed three people and sent 12 to the hospital.
More about Blue Bell Creameries, listeria contamination, seek and destroy, Environment, doj investigation
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