Texas grocery chain H-E-B is pulling all Blue Bell Ice Cream from store shelves as a precaution after a recall of some of the ice cream maker's products that were connected to three deaths in Kansas.
H-E-B and Central Market, with more than 300 stores in Texas and northern Mexico, said the decision Saturday was a "precautionary measure due to food safety concerns." The chain said it's working with Bentham, Texas-based Blue Bell to refill the stocks as soon as possible.
Blue Bell spokesman Gene Grabowski said the company respected and understood the action.
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"Like them, we care for the well-being of our consumers," he said.
Here is a complete breakdown of how individual stores are handling Blue Bell products:
- Kroger has only pulled products produced in the Broken Arrow, Oklahoma facility from shelves. The company said in a statement that customers who have purchased a recalled product will automatically be notified by phone message.
- Albert sons and Tom Thumb stores have pulled products produced in Oklahoma.
- Walmart stores have pulled products produced in Oklahoma. Cashiers will be notified if any Oklahoma-originating products are scanned at check out.
- H-E-B and Central Market have pulled all Blue Bell products off the shelves but working with the company to refill their stocks.
Blue Bell on Friday suspended operations at its Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, plant that officials previously had connected to contaminated ice cream. The company recalled products there and at a Texas plant that's been linked to a food borne illness connected to three deaths.
Blue Bell products made at the Oklahoma facility can be identified by checking for the letters “O,” “P,” “Q,” “R,” “S,” and “T” following the “code date” printed on the bottom of the product package, according to the CDC.
In addition to the Broken Arrow plant, the company has two plants in Bentham and one in Salvage, Alabama. Those plants will continue to operate and supply products to retail stores.
The recalled ice cream had been shipped to Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.
For more information, contact Blue Bell at 979-836-7977, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.