Just when it seemed like Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries was back in business, officials with the company have announced it's not quite in the clear yet. According to Food Safety News, Blue Bell says the potentially deadly bacteria is still being found in certain parts of its facility. In a January 7 press release, the company stated, "Because Listeria is commonly found in the natural environment, no manufacturer can ever assume it can be entirely eradicated." The company is testing every batch of ice cream for the presence of the bacteria and using "enhanced cleaning procedures" to attempt to wipe out Listeria from its factory. Representatives went on to state that they have, in fact, "identified locations where suspected Listeria species may be present in our facility."
It's been a rough few months for the company which voluntarily recalled all of its products in April of last year after its ice cream was linked to three Listeria-related deaths the previous month. Soon after, dozens reported falling ill after eating the ice cream and some even sued the company. Immediately after, Blue Bell was forced to lay off 1,450 workers — some of which later complained of unsafe and unsanitary practices.
After attempting to eradicate the bacteria from its production center, Blue Bell began testing production in July and officially resumed production later that month. It eventually made its way back into stores at the end of the summer and the media announced its official comeback at the end of August. However, the seemingly happy ending took a left turn when the Justice Department announced they were launching an investigation into the company and its culpability in the outbreak. The announcement of the investigation came just a few days before the company's press release indicating that Listeria was still be present in its facility.