We are providing these updates to our Food Channel audience given the high amount of interest we’ve seen in food safety, and this issue in particular due to its impact. This statement is published as received:
Blue Bell begins enhanced employee training; testing continues
About 750 Blue Bell plant operations employees have attended a training session led by an outside expert microbiologist. He briefed employees about microbiology in general and specifically about controlling the plant environment to prevent bacteria, including listeria. This was the first step in Blue Bell’s enhanced training program; additional training sessions for supervisors will be conducted throughout the week.
Simultaneously, the company is continuing to test individual pieces of equipment, the floor and other surfaces throughout its plants as it looks for the source or sources of the bacteria. Equipment will be disassembled and swabbed, and samples will be obtained from throughout the production facilities.
Additionally, the company anticipates conducting extensive maintenance (including major floor repairs and potential ventilation system work) in the weeks and months ahead. Depending on the findings from ongoing tests, an enhanced cleaning and sanitation program will be implemented in the weeks ahead.
“We are committed to doing whatever it takes to get this right,” said Greg Bridges, vice president of operations for Blue Bell. “Our manufacturing facilities, especially the two in Brenham, are large and complex, so we anticipate this process will take some time. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our customers and retailers as we work to get this right.”