Blue Bell Creameries plans to begin distributing ice cream once again to select markets beginning Monday Aug. 31.
In a Monday news release, the Brenham, Texas-based company said it has notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state health officials in Texas and Alabama of its plan to re-enter select markets on a limited basis.
“Over the past several months, we have been working to make our facilities even better, and to ensure that everything we produce is safe, wholesome and of the highest quality for you to enjoy,” said Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing, commenting in a news release.
“This is an exciting time for us as we are back to doing what we love…making ice cream,” Dickson said.
The production facility in Sylacauga, Ala. began producing ice cream in late July. Additional production facilities in Brenham and Broken Arrow, Okla. Currently are undergoing facility and production process upgrades similar to those made at the Alabama plant.
Due to limited production capacity while producing in one facility, the company said it will re-enter parts of 15 states in five phases. The first of the five phases will be similar to how Blue Bell began and include Brenham, Houston and Austin areas, as well as parts of Birmingham and Montgomery, Ala., where the product is being made.
The next phases include:
• Phase Two: North Central Texas and southern Oklahoma
• Phase Three: Southwest Texas and central Oklahoma
• Phase Four: The majority of Texas and southern Louisiana
• Phase Five: Complete the states of Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas and begin distribution in Arkansas, Florida, northern Louisiana and Mississippi. This phase also will include only parts of the following states: Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Blue Bell said it will tackle each phase based on product availability and when the company can properly serve customers in certain area. With the exception of phase one, no other dates have been determined for when each expansion will take place.
Blue Bell in April voluntarily recalled all products after its treats were linked to 10 listeria illnesses in four states, including three deaths in Kansas.
The company stopped production and started extensive cleaning and decontamination at its plants in Brenham, Alabama and Oklahoma. Regulators in Alabama said last week that Blue Bell could resume production there.
For more information and to follow the company’s progress visit www.bluebell.com.