April 23, 2015

Blue Bell recalled from local businesses, nationwide

Empty shelves at a local Target store that used to hold Blue Bell products, which were recalled earlier this week.

Kaitlin Helm

Empty shelves at a local Target store that used to hold Blue Bell products, which were recalled earlier this week.

A nationwide recall of Blue Bell Ice Cream products is affecting businesses close to home.

Fort Worth businesses such as Sweet Sammies and Kroger said they have felt the impact after Blue Bell Creameries expanded a recall earlier in the week.

The manager of Sweet Sammies, Kory Close, said the shop had to find a way to replace the ice cream to keep customers coming.

“Blue Bell came in and took all of the supply we had out of our shop,” Close said. “We had to scram to order some other ice cream that we got from a local supply company that carries a generic brand of three gallon containers, and we went in there and bought whatever they had.”

Brenham-based Blue Bell issued a nationwide, voluntary recall for its products after some samples tested positive for listeria, a potentially deadly bacteria.  The company said five patients were treated in Kansas and three in Texas after testing positive for listeria.

Blue Bell products are sold in 23 states, including Texas.

Close said that it could be almost a month before Blue Bell products are back. He said that they plan to use the ice cream from a local restaurant supplier in the meantime.

“It’s all very tentative,” Close said. “They gave us a vague estimate of about three weeks until they even get the product back on the shelves, which is probably only half gallons or pints.”

Larger grocery chains like Kroger and Target also have empty shelves that used to house Blue Bell products.

Gary Huddleston, director of public affairs for the Kroger Southwest Division in Dallas, said they will gradually add more of the Kroger brand ice cream and other ice cream brands in the empty space.

“Kroger has its own dairies that produce an ice cream called Private Selection,” Huddleston said.  “We will be expanding on our brand as well as some of the other national brands such as Dreyer’s and Breyers that we carry.”

Huddleston also said Kroger is also offering customers refunds for recently purchased Blue Bell products.

“Currently, our shelves are empty from Blue Bell products and we have signage on the case notifying the customer that if they have purchased Blue Bell to please bring it back for a full refund,” Huddleston said.

Both Sweet Sammies and Kroger said they plan to bring Blue Bell back as soon as everything is safe.

“Blue Bell has been a great partner and a Texas company for over 100 years,” Huddleston said. “When Blue Bell has their production safe, we will bring Blue Bell back to Kroger.”

Kristen Weaver is a volunteer reporter for The 109. Email her at kristen.weaver@tcu.edu. 

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