Access to the observation deck at Blue Bell Creameries plant in Brenham, TX, is free and open to the public again for self-guided tours for those who want to see how ice cream is made.
It was last open before the iconic ice cream company went through a crushing Listeria outbreak two years ago that sickened 10 people and was associated with three deaths. Before that happened, the observation deck was the last stop on a ticketed tour that saw Blue Blue play host to 225,000 visitors a year.
Now the observation deck is open with no ticket required. No pictures are allowed, but consumers can eyeball the renovated ice cream plant below. Also open are Country Store and Ice Cream Parlor locations in both Brenham and Sylacauga, AL. It makes ice cream in Brenham, Sylacauga, and Broken Arrow, OK.
It was on April 20, 2015, that Blue Bell Creameries had to recall all its products that were on the market from all its facilities, including ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks. The recall followed discovery of a slow-moving, 5-year outbreak involving the 10 people in four states: Arizona (1); Kansas (5); Oklahoma (1) and Texas (3).
The three deaths were reported from Kansas.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also warned consumers not to eat any of the recalled products and ordered institutions and retailers not to serve or sell them.
After fines and agreements with three state health departments, Blue Bell began to crank back up in late 2015. A principal change are its “test and hold” procedures, required by the states. The company began to recapture its southern-centered trade territory and add flavors during the past 18 months.
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