- Blue Bell Creameries has been cleared by Alabama state officials to resume the production and sale of ice cream and other products from its Sylacauga, AL, plant. The plant had been allowed to return to test production about a month ago.
- The Alabama Department of Public Health's Division of Food, Milk and Lodging said that the plant meets all state public health standards, and the department has no objection to the facility's return to its former operations.
- Blue Bell does not yet have an exact date for when its products will return to stores. The plant in Broken Arrow, OK, and the company headquarters in Brenham, TX, have not yet been approved for production. Around 200 employees have been brought back to work.
The journey has been long for Blue Bell since its official full product recall was announced in April, with smaller recalls beginning in March. The saga actually goes on even longer, however, as the initial discovery of possible contamination took place as far back as February, when the company began a quiet withdrawal of products from retailers and institutional customers, such as hospitals, without notifying the public.
This news in Sylacauga is major for Blue Bell, which is hoping to move forward with the help of billionaire investor Sid Bass, whose family is to receive a one-third stake in the company. Without this investment, Blue Bell may not have been able to remain in business long enough to see its first plant, Sylacauga, return to production.