Public health officials have given Blue Bell the OK to resume the production and sale of ice cream manufactured at its Alabama plant.
Jim McVay, director of health promotion and chronic disease at the Alabama Department of Public Health, said Wednesday that Blue Bell can resume full production at its facility in Sylacauga, Alabama.
He said product testing and trial runs have shown no indications of the listeria contamination that caused illnesses in four states, including three deaths in Kansas, and a crippling recall in April.
Blue Bell tweeted the happy news:
The Brenham, Texas-based company underwent an extensive cleaning and decontamination process at its four plants following the recall.
Blue Bell confirmed to NBC 5 Wednesday that they are producing ice cream at the facility and that the product is being added to inventory. At this time, the company did not have a date for when they would return their products to market and they have not finalized their distribution plan.
Blue Bell did hint that more information about the ice cream's return:
A spokesperson with the Texas Department of State Health Services said they have not been notified of any plan to start production in Texas and Blue Bell announced no timetable for when production would resume at plants in Texas and Oklahoma.
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A spokesperson for Kroger Stores tells NBC 5 that North Texas retailers typically received their Blue Bell products from the creamery's Oklahoma and Brenham plants, not its Alabama plant, and it's unclear how much product the ice cream maker will produce immediately.
Kroger will supply its higher-volume stores first but is hopeful that Blue Bell will have enough to product to stock all of its North Texas stores.
"That's good news that Blue Bell is producing in Alabama, and we'd be excited to welcome Blue Bell back to our Kroger stores in North Texas, but we really don't have a definite date from Blue Bell. As soon as we know, we'll be making room," said Gary Huddleston, with Kroger Public Affairs.
NBC 5's Bianca Castro and Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.