SYLACAUGA -- Blue Bell Creameries will continue to produce ice cream at its Sylacauga plant following a voluntary recall of two select products made locally.
“We voluntarily recalled select products produced in our Sylacauga plant because they were produced using an ingredient that has been recalled by our supplier, Aspen Hills,” said Jenny Van Dorf, public relations market specialist with Blue Bell Creameries, on Thursday afternoon.
The plant has approximately 250 employees. Blue Bell in Sylacauga produces ice cream in half gallons, pints, 3-ounce cups and 3-gallon containers.
When questioned about the possibility of layoffs, Van Dorf again said the Sylacauga plant continues to produce ice cream, and that the recall was due to a problem with an ingredient provided by a third-party supplier.
At this time, no illnesses from eating the ice cream have been reported, she said.
The recall covers half gallons of chocolate chip cookie dough and one of Blue Bell’s latest flavors, Cookie Two Step. The recall also covers pints of chocolate chip cookie dough. The two flavors were recalled because of Listeria concerns.
Van Dorf said Blue Bell has suspended indefinitely all ingredient purchases from the supplier.
According to Food Safety News, Blue Bell identified a potential problem through intensified internal testing and notified Aspen Hills, Inc., in Garner, Iowa. Aspen Hills then issued a voluntary recall of the products supplied to Blue Bell, according to a notice on Blue Bell’s website.
Aspen Hills is a supplier of cookie dough for food companies. It is also a leading provider of cookie dough for fundraising campaigns.
Aspen Hills recalled certain lots of its no egg chocolate chip cookie dough Tuesday. The company had shipped 578 cases of the dough to the Sylacauga plant July 26 and another 1,358 cases to Brenham, Texas, on Aug. 9 and 22.
The dough has the potential to contain Listeria monocytogenes. Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, Listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women.
Listeria prompted Blue Bell to issue the first recall in its 108-year-old history in 2015. Blue Bell halted production at all three of its plants, including Sylacauga, after its ice cream was linked to several cases of Listeria.
The Sylacauga plant resumed producing ice cream in late July 2015, once the Alabama Department of Public Health gave the OK that same month. Blue Bell’s plants in Brenham and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, remained closed at that time.
Before returning its products to the store shelves at the end of August 2015, extensive trial runs showed no indications of Listeria contamination.
The latest recall covers half gallons of chocolate chip cookie dough (with code date 082618226) and Cookie Two Step (with code dates 080418222 and 081818224). The recall also covers pints of chocolate chip cookie dough (code dates 081518242, 082418242). The products can be identified by the code date found on the bottom of the carton.
Consumers are encouraged to return the recalled products to the place of purchase for a full refund.
Blue Bell said it will continue to work closely with its regulatory agencies and remains committed to ensuring it is producing safe products.
For more information, consumers with questions may call 979-836-7977, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time.