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Blue Bell expands ice cream distribution with a little help from Fort Worth

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BRENHAM, Texas (AP) — Blue Bell has expanded its ice cream distribution to more Texas and Oklahoma markets as it works to put its listeria contamination crisis behind it.

Brenham, Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries began returning its products to store shelves Monday in the Dallas, Fort Worth and Waco areas, as well as the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas in Oklahoma.

Blue Bell had resumed selling ice cream Aug. 31 in the Brenham, Houston and Austin areas of Texas, as well as the Birmingham and Montgomery areas of Alabama, four months after suspending sales when listeria was found at some plants.

Blue Bell was linked to 10 listeria cases, including three deaths in Kansas. The bacteria can cause serious illness, especially in older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.

Fort Worth businessman Sid Bass made a “significant investment” in Blue Bell Creameries that the ice cream manufacturer said in July will “ensure” the return of its products to the market.

Blue Bell released a statement in July announcing that Bass has become a partner. The company, based in Brenham, did not reveal the size of Bass’ investment.

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