Blue Bell customers, Texas stores prepare for return after Listeria

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Blue Bell ice cream is set to be back on store shelves in just days. The company is trying to come back after a deadly Listeria outbreak. Blue Bell fans are waiting for the ice cream to return.

It has been more than an empty space in grocery store freezers -- for more than a few people - it's an unrequited craving.

All of Blue Bell's products were voluntarily removed this spring when Listeria was detected at its plants, eventually 10 cases attributed by the Centers for Disease Control to Blue Bell's facilities in Oklahoma, Alabama, and Brenham, Texas. Three of the cases were fatal -- each of those traced to its Texas facility.

But on Monday morning, Blue Bell will return to retailers in Central and Southeast Texas because the Brenham plant remains closed for now, the ice cream comes from its Alabama plant. It's being stored at distribution centers in the area, and before dawn on August 31, trucks will start delivering it to stores between 3am and 4am.

H-E-B says its Brenham store will receive the first delivery, and while it hasn't yet decided on limiting purchases, Kroger is asking that customers limit themselves to no more than two Blue Bell products at a time so that others will not leave empty handed.

Blue Bell customer Shauna Neal said, "I'm just missing all the goodness."

To say there's anticipation is an understatement for a lot of people and their family traditions.

Blue Bell customer Christina Trimble said, "All these new flavors we didn't grow up on those, we grew up on Blue Bell."

But even in all of this anticipation, there are those who say they won't be going back.

Esmerelda Cavallos said, "I'm not sure whether I'll eat it again whether regardless of whether the they say the plant is clean and so forth, I'm just still kind of leery."
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