Fort Worth businessman Sid Bass has made a “significant investment” in Blue Bell Creameries that the ice cream manufacturer says will “ensure” the return of its products to the market.
Blue Bell released a statement Tuesday announcing that Bass has become a partner. The company, based in Brenham, Texas, did not reveal the size of Bass’ investment.
“We are pleased Sid Bass has made a significant investment with our company,” Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and president, said in a news release. “The additional capital will ensure the successful return of our ice cream to the market and our loyal customers.”
The release quoted Bass calling Blue Bell “the quality leader in the ice cream industry.”
“We are excited to be a part of the Blue Bell brand and family” Bass said. “We believe quality is the principal attribute that ensures the success, growth and longevity of a business.”
Blue Bell earlier this year shut down production and issued a national recall after its ice cream was linked to 10 listeria illnesses in four states, including three deaths in Kansas. The company last week announced plans for test production runs at its Alabama plant.
Meanwhile, a U.S. Justice Department official said this week that companies such as Blue Bell could be subject to prosecution when their food products become contaminated.
“We have made a priority holding individuals and companies responsible when they fail to live up to their obligations that they have to protect the safety of the food that all of us eat,” Associate Attorney General Stuart Delery said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Delery, the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, wouldn’t say specifically whether the government plans to pursue charges against Blue Bell. A Food and Drug Administration investigation revealed that the company was aware it had listeria in one of its plants for almost two years before the recall.
“I will say we are following the reports and working with our agency partners, obviously, as they conduct their reviews and investigations,” Delery said of the Blue Bell investigation and other recent cases of food contamination.