- Blue Bell is voluntarily recalling select ice cream varieties due to a chocolate chip cookie dough ingredient that tested positive for listeria, according to the FDA.
- The cookie dough came from Blue Bell's third-party supplier, Aspen Hills, Inc.
- Blue Bell hasn't received any reports of illnesses and identified the potential problem after discovering the contamination through internal testing. Blue Bell then notified its supplier of the issue.
Having just come off a major listeria-related recall, announcing another listeria contamination could melt remaining consumer trust. The ice cream manufacturer only just began incrementally restarting and ramping up production. For consumers to have to associate listeria with its products again only a year later could have a permanent effect on Blue Bell's sales.
What's unfortunate for Blue Bell — and other companies that have recently experienced the same type of recall — is that this recall is from a supplier rather than a contamination from the manufacturer's operations. However, even if consumers know that, they still may now associate Blue Bell with potentially unsafe ice cream. Any manufacturer impacted by the General Mills flour recall or mysterious sugar recall can relate.
This type of scenario, as common as it's been lately, illustrates the importance of whole chain traceability and of manufacturers closely monitoring relationships and ingredient exchanges with suppliers. Internal testing is key, as Blue Bell demonstrated before illnesses arose. But a more efficient way to monitor suppliers may be to work with them to establish their own internal testing and other safety protocols that match the expectations the manufacturers have for themselves and their own products.