Blue Bell Said To Seek Easing Of Federal Listeria-Linked Restrictions
HOUSTON, Texas - The Houston Chronicle is reporting Texas-based ice cream maker Blue Bell wants federal regulators to lighten costly precautions in place since a deadly listeria outbreak and allow the company to return to more normal procedures that are followed by its competitors.
The newspaper, reviewing documents obtained under a federal open records request, says Blue Bell has been working for months with a laboratory to develop tests to meet federal Food and Drug Administration requirements, prevent future outbreaks and help Blue Bell improve its economics.
An attorney for Blue Bell, Joseph Levitt, has written to the FDA saying it’s time for the company “to transition to the industry norm.”
The Chronicle says Blue Bell is currently required to destroy any product even suspected of having listeria, even if it ultimately proves not to, costing the company millions of dollars -- and Blue Bell wants to only have to destroy product that does test positive.
Blue Bell Ice Cream stopped production in 2015 at its Broken Arrow plant after some of the ice cream tested positive for listeria. The outbreak was linked to three deaths in Kansas.
The BA plant furloughed about 200 workers when the plant closed in April 2015.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.