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Blue Bell Says Its Ice Cream Will Be Back In Some Stores Next Week

At the end of this month, containers of Blue Bell ice cream, a staple in Texas and other states, will finally return to store shelves. The company's ice cream has been absent from stores for four months after a wide recall over listeria concerns.

The rollout will happen gradually, reports member station KERA, beginning with Homemade Vanilla being sold in some Texas stores next Monday. Other flavors will soon follow; the company says it will expand distribution as it upgrades its production facilities.

Reporting the news today, the Dallas Morning news added, "This is not a drill."

KERA's Eric Aasen writes:

"The first areas to get the ice cream? Brenham, where the company started in 1907, as well as Houston and Austin. Ice cream will also be sent to stores in Alabama (Birmingham and Montgomery), where the ice cream is being produced. North Texas and southern Oklahoma will be next, followed by stores in southwest Texas and central Oklahoma."

Before a succession of recalls hit Blue Bell this spring, the company had been selling its frozen desserts in 23 states. The new plan calls for its products to re-enter markets in 15 states, KERA says.

After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it had traced eight related cases of listeria over a period from 2011 to 2015, Blue Bell expanded a voluntary recall to include all of its products — including ice cream, frozen yogurt and sherbet — and all of its production plants.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.