BRENHAM, Texas, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- Blue Bell Creameries has announced that it will resume sales of its ice cream in Alabama and Texas on Aug. 31.
"Over the past several months we have been working to make our facilities even better, and to ensure that everything we produce is safe, wholesome and of the highest quality for you to enjoy," Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing, said in a Blue Bell press release.
The factory producing the first batch will be the one located in Sylacauga, Ala. Facilities in Brenham, Texas, and Broken Arrow, Okla., are "still undergoing facility and production process upgrades."
Blue Bell had voluntarily recalled its ice cream products in April after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked the company's products to an outbreak of listeria that killed three in Kansas and left several others ill throughout Kansas and Texas.
Listeria is a virus that lives in cool, wet environments. Though it is typically harmless for healthy people, it poses a threat to pregnant women, newborns, older adults and individuals with weak immune systems.
The recall had a devastating effect on the 108-year-old company, which was also the third-biggest U.S. ice cream producer. The company was forced to lay off 37 percent of its 3,900 workers in May and warned shareholders that it may have to close.
But after an investment from Texas billionaire Sid Bass, Blue Bell is rolling out its ice cream again in the same pattern as the company's original growth trajectory. It will begin sales in the Texas cities of Brenham, Houston and Austin, as well as Birmingham and Montgomery in Alabama. Future markets include Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida and more.