Blue Bell Creameries expanded a recall on Monday to recall all Blue Bell products from stores nationwide, and Fort Worth businesses are feeling the impact.
Blue Bell issued the recall after the ice cream was linked to cases of listeria, an organism that causes painful symptoms such as abdominal pain, headaches and fever and can be fatal in some cases, according to the Blue Bell website.
“A lot of TCU students like to enjoy Blue Bell on breaks or for a snack. It’s scary to think that we all could have been exposed to listeria in the Blue Bell ice cream,” said Madeline Morris, a sophomore accounting major.
“Yesterday Blue Bell came in and took all of the supply we had out of our shop,” said Kory Close, a manager of Sweet Sammies.
“We had to scram together some other ice cream that we got from a local supply company that carries a generic brand of three gallon containers, and we went in there and bought whatever they had,” Close said.
Close said it could be almost a month before Blue Bell products are back. He said that for now their ice cream will come from a local supplier.
“It’s all very tentative. They gave us a vague estimate of about three weeks until they even get the product back on the shelves, which is probably only half gallons or pints,” Close said.
Sweet Sammies and Kroger said they would definitely bring Blue Bell back as soon as everything is safe.
“We’re pretty bummed about it, and so are our customers,” Close said. “But right when Blue Bell is back we will switch back to them.”
Gary Huddleston, the director of public affairs for the Kroger Southwest Division in Dallas, said Blue Bell was a loyal brand for their company and that Kroger would also bring Blue Bell back as soon as the recall ends.
“When Blue Bell has their production safe, we will bring Blue Bell back to Kroger,” Huddleston said.
Huddleston said customers who purchased Blue Bell in the past few days can bring the ice cream back for a full refund.
“Currently, our shelves are empty from Blue Bell products and we have signage on the case notifying the customer that if they have purchased Blue Bell to please bring it back for a full refund,” Huddleston said.
Huddleston said in place of where the Blue Bell products use to be, they will gradually add more of the Kroger brand ice cream as well as other national ice cream brands.
“Kroger has its own dairies that produce an ice cream called Private Selection. We will be expanding on our brand as well as some of the other national brands such as Dreyer’s and Breyers that we carry,” Huddleston said.
Sweet Sammies began serving the new ice cream brand Tuesday, and Close said reactions were mostly positive.
“The [ice cream] we have right now isn’t bad, it works. People seem to like it. [Tuesday] was the first day we had it. Feedback was okay, but we’ll see. We had a great day of business,” Close said.
Close said that he appreciated support from TCU students who came in on Tuesday.
“The students and customers were all very nice about it. They understand the situation and it’s cool to see the support,” Close said.
Both Close and Huddleston said Blue Bell is a loyal supplier and good partner in business.
“Blue Bell has been a great partner and a Texas company for over 100 years,” Huddleston said.