Blue Bell Employees Speak out about Conditions at the Plant
Some new allegations against Blue Bell are surfacing this week.
Reports indicate former Blue Bell Ice Cream workers claim management ignored their complaints about conditions at the Texas factory linked to an outbreak of listeria.
During the outbreak, 10 people got sick and three died. This resulted in a massive recall of all Blue Bell ice cream which was sold in 23 states.
Blue Bell is back on some store shelves, but it's not back in full supply yet.
Terry Schultz operated a machine at the Brenham factory. "It's a fantastic product and they've done a lot for this community, but at the same time, there's a bad side to Blue Bell where everything was overlooked."
"A lot of times when I walked in there was just ice cream all over the floor," Schultz explained. "Sometimes the machines would just go haywire, the product would just continually run through the conveyor belt and just drop right onto the floor."
Schultz said stopping to clean the ice cream would slow down production, so workers left it pooling on the floor, creating an environment where bacteria could flourish. When Schultz complained to supervisors he said nothing was done.
"The response I got at one point was, is that all you're going to do is come here and bitch every afternoon?" recalled Schultz.
Five-year Blue Bell veteran Gerald Bland operated a fruit feeder in one part of the plant.
"It's all about the money," he said.
He said he was told to pour ice cream and fruit juice that dripped off the machine throughout the day into barrels of ice cream mix to be used later.
"You would see oil on top from the fruit feeder leaking that would still go right into the barrel," he explained.
He adds it would have been possible to have oil from the machines end up in some of the ice cream.
That means they can't distribute any product they produce, until a test confirms it is safe. But, their flagship plant in Brenham, Texas, is still closed.