Blue Bell Creameries has signed a voluntary agreement with the Alabama Department of Public Health laying out a series of steps the company plans to take to control Listeria contamination before its products may legally be sold there again. The company has a plant in Sylacauga, AL, which is currently closed.
The Blue Bell agreement with Alabama health authorities states that the company will be:
- Conducting root cause analyses to identify the potential for Listeria or actual sources;
- Retaining an independent microbiology expert to help establish and review controls to prevent the future introduction of Listeria;
- Notifying the Alabama Department of Public Health promptly of any presumptive positive test result for Listeria monocytogenes found in ingredients or finished product samples and providing the state agencies full access to all testing;
- Ensuring that the company’s Pathogen Monitoring Program for Listeria in the plant environment outlines how the company will respond to presumptive positive tests for Listeria species, and,
- Instituting a “test and hold” program to assure that products are safe before they are shipped or sold.