FDA slams Blue Bell plants

Dive Brief:

  • The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) inspections of three Blue Bell plants have brought to light a whole host of reported problems.
  • Of Blue Bell's three facilities, the Broken Arrow, OK, plant saw the most "observations," including that "[t]he design of equipment does not allow proper cleaning and maintenance," reports Food Safety News.
  • Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse said in a statement: "Unfortunately, we do not yet have a firm timeline for when Blue Bell Ice Cream will be back in stores, but we believe at this time that it will be several months at a minimumWe are evaluating all of our operations in light of this extended timeline, we are working closely with the appropriate federal and state regulatory agencies and our microbiology experts, and we are mapping out the many details of returning to production and distribution as soon as we can do so with confidence."

Dive Insight:

The Blue Bell news comes in the wake of Jeni's recently discovering the exact location of its listeria outbreak, as well as the FDA delivering guidance on mandatory recall procedures, which are technically already in effect since the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act in 2011.

Blue Bell is in it for the long haul in terms of ensuring food safety, but whether it even stands a chance at a comeback is another story. Listeria contamination is not an easy thing for a food company to come back from, if at all. 

"Not too many companies survive a massive listeria call of that nature," Tom Myers, PURE Bioscience EVP of Marketing and Product Development, told Food Dive recently about a plant he worked on with listeria contamination.

Filed Under: Food Safety
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