Blue Bell Creameries' listeria crisis is bad news for ice cream lovers and for the company's employees as well. Last month, Blue Bell voluntarily recalled all of its ice cream after it was found that some of the products contained Listeria, which resulted in ten illnesses and three deaths. Now, according to the USA Today, 1,450 of Blue Bell's 3,900 person workforce will be laid off to help the company save money. 750 full-time employees will lose their jobs alongside 700 part-time workers. An additional 1,400 staff members will be furloughed.
Blue Bell's CEO Paul Kruse notes in a statement that the decision to "lay off hundreds of our great workers and reduce hours and pay for others" was "agonizing." Blue Bell currently has no "firm" timeline on when they will start making ice cream again. The company "expects to phase in production over time, and for a year officials have agreed to hold onto each batch of ice cream until test results for listeria come back negative."
Fellow ice cream company Jeni's, which also initiated a voluntary recall of its products last month over listeria concerns, will reopen its shops this week. The recall cost the company over $2.5 million dollars and it destroyed half a million pounds of product. However, unlike Blue Bell, the company did not have to layoff any of its employees. Instead they gave workers partial pay and maintained benefits.