In response to a records request from a Dallas newspaper, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday posted four additional inspection reports of Blue Bell Creameries facilities from 2007-2012. The four join recent FDA inspection reports of three Blue Bell plants performed before and after the company’s April 20, 2015, total product recall. Blue-Bell_406x250None of the earlier inspection reports indicated evidence of Listeria contamination; however, numerous violations of food safety protocols were observed by Texas state health officials, who reportedly did the 2007-2012 inspections under contract with FDA. According to the most recent update from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 10 people have been hospitalized in four states with illnesses linked to Blue Bell ice cream products, including three people already in the hospital for other reasons who later died. A Houston man allegedly sickened in the outbreak has sued Blue Bell, claiming that he became ill after eating the company’s ice cream in 2013. He is reportedly not one of the 10 people in CDC’s outbreak database. The earlier inspection reports FDA posted Thursday are from visits to two Blue Bell ice cream plants (at its headquarters in Brenham, TX, and in Broken Arrow, OK) and two company warehouses (in Houston and San Antonio, TX). They reported that condensate collecting on a steel pipe in the Brenham plant in July 2009 was dripping onto an ice cream sandwich wafer just before being filled with ice cream and being packaged, and it was also dripping into an empty three-gallon carton just prior to shipping and packaging. At the Broken Arrow plant in March 2012, one worker was seen repeatedly handling ingredients and touching food-contact surfaces with his hand after scratching his head, touching his waistband and adjusting his cap, and ingredients to be added to food were kept in buckets with dried residues on their sides and lids. The warehouse inspection reports (from 2007 and 2014) indicated cleanliness and maintenance issues such as pallet debris, ice and condensation buildup, and a broken light shield. A company spokesman responded that Blue Bell takes inspections seriously and makes corrections in response to them, and that a “comprehensive review” of all operations, policies, employee training and cleaning procedures is currently underway. Meanwhile, all of the company’s production and distribution facilities are closed, no ice cream or related products are being made except for testing purposes, and, on May 15, Blue Bell announced layoffs and furloughs of a large segment of its workforce while manufacturing is suspended. Company President and CEO Paul Kruse has not given a firm timeline for the return of Blue Bell products to the marketplace, but he has said it is likely to be several months.