On Wednesday, Blue Bell Creameries announced it had started testing ice cream production at its Sylacauga, Alabama, facility as the company tries to recover from its April listeria outbreak.
The popular Texas-based company said previously the test production will be on a limited basis, while the company tries to confirm that new procedures, facility enhancements and employee training have been effective in eliminating the bacteria.
Blue Bell officials said the ice cream that will be produced will be closely monitored and tested and not be sold to consumers.
When the trial period is complete, Blue Bell will begin building inventory to return to store shelves.
“We have been working diligently to prepare our facilities to resume test production, and our focus throughout this process has been to ensure the public that when our products return to market, they are safe,” Vice President of Operations for Blue Bell Greg Bridges said in a statement. “We are very excited about taking these important first steps as part of the process of getting high-quality Blue Bell products back to consumers.”
Blue Bell issued a nationwide recall of all its products April 20 due to concerns of listeria contamination at its plants in Brenham, Sylacauga and Broken Arrow, Okla.
The company's ice cream has been linked to 10 listeria illnesses in four states, including three deaths in Kansas.
There is no firm date for when ice cream sales will resume.
NBCDFW found customers at Pokey O's Ice Cream and Cookies in Dallas who've been eagerly awaiting Blue Bell's return.
They see the progress as good news.
"I think it's wonderful that they're going to bring it back into homes and to families because it's the best ice cream here in the South," said Diane Page, of Dallas.