August 17, 2015
Can Blue Bell Beat the Listeria Nightmare?
In March Blue Bell, a Texas company, experienced a PR nightmare as many of their ice cream flavors were found to contain Listeria bacteria. This triggered a recall, and ultimately all four of their plants in Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas were closed down until further notice. The company took no chances, and all of their products were removed from the freezer aisles in grocery stores.
Years of Experience Doesn’t Stop Bacteria
Blue Bell has been supplying frozen treats for 108 years, and this is the first time they have faced such a situation. All of the plants have been receiving complete cleaning and decontamination treatments. But now, as of the first week of August, at least their Sylacauga, Alabama plant is making small batches of ice cream.
The Alabama Department of Health and Safety has given the go ahead. Blue Bell is proceeding with caution and only making ice cream during the day shift. Everything being made currently is used to build their inventory until they are ready to begin shipping.
There is no word on when their ice cream will be back in the grocery stores. Kroger is one of the main stores selling their brand. Management and customers at Krogers are thrilled to hear they may soon be enjoying one of their favorite ice cream brands again. Taking their time before getting products back on the shelf was the right move. At the moment it seems to be building anticipation for Blue Bell’s return in the 23 states where they have sold product in the past.
Taking Action When Needed
When Kroger begins getting shipments, they plan to stock their larger-volume stores first, so some customers may be waiting awhile for their taste of heaven. But, in this case, the time invested in getting it right translates to customers as a company that cares for their health. Accidents happen, and Blue Bell takes them seriously.
There is also no word yet about when the other three plants will open. For now, however, it remains to be seen if the company can bounce back from such a major health concern. They seem to be making all the right moves, and putting public safety first. It doesn’t hurt that they have a loyal customer base who despite the Listeria outbreak, is excited to enjoy their favorite flavors again as soon as possible.
Another option for Blue Bell would be to hire an expert PR company.