Blue Bell, AL agree to inspection guidelines; production still halted for now

Blue Bell Creameries announced Monday that it has come to an agreement with the Alabama Department of Public Health that details what the company will do to make sure its products are safe before they hit store shelves once production begins again.

Additionally, the company said that while Blue Bell trucks have been spotted recently, they're not delivering ice cream at this time.

The voluntary agreement, which was signed Monday, includes a "test and hold" trial production period before products will be distributed.

The agreement includes taking the following steps:
  • Conducting root cause analyses to identify its potential or actual sources;
  • Retaining an independent microbiology expert to help establish and review controls to prevent the future introduction of Listeria;
  • Notifying the Alabama Department of Public Health promptly of any presumptive positive test result for Listeria monocytogenes found in ingredients or finished product samples, and providing the state agencies full access to all testing;
  • Ensuring that the company's Pathogen Monitoring Program (PMP) for Listeria in the plant environment outlines how the company will respond to presumptive positive tests for Listeria species; and,
  • Instituting a "test and hold" program to assure that products are safe before they are shipped or sold.

Blue Bell entered into similar voluntary agreements with the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry.

Blue Bell shut down production at its plants in Brenham, TX; Broken Arrow, Okla. and Sylacauga, AL and recalled all products after listeria in its products was linked to three deaths.

Blue Bell also said Monday that despite some people seeing Blue Bell trucks on the roads recently, they are not delivering ice cream.

Instead, "These trucks are making their way back to markets that remain open and will be used once we begin distributing ice cream to stores again," Blue Bell said via Twitter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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