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Blue Bell recalls ice cream in Mississippi, Louisiana

Becky Gray opens up the freezers to get some ice cream next to the empty Blue Bell Ice Cream shelves at the Vidalia Market. On Monday, Blue Bell recalled all of their ice cream in response to potential contamination of Listeria. Gray says she usually leans towards Blue Bell and has some to return to the store, but the recall does not dissuade her from the product. “We will still get it once it is back,” she said. “Everyone makes mistakes, least they took it off the shelves.”  (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Becky Gray opens up the freezers to get some ice cream next to the empty Blue Bell Ice Cream shelves at the Vidalia Market. On Monday, Blue Bell recalled all of their ice cream in response to potential contamination of Listeria. Gray says she usually leans towards Blue Bell and has some to return to the store, but the recall does not dissuade her from the product. “We will still get it once it is back,” she said. “Everyone makes mistakes, least they took it off the shelves.” (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — The Vidalia Walmart is running low on ice cream.

They’re not alone, though.

Blue Bell Ice Cream recently recalled all of its products in response to potential product contamination of Listeria monocytogenes, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children and the elderly.

That means a number of distributors in the Natchez area were left without the popular sweet treat.

James Williams, assistant manager of the Vidalia Walmart, said the store is currently selling no Blue Bell products.

“We were told (by Blue Bell) to take all products to the back of the store and put them in the freezer until further notice,” Williams said.

Since the recall, Williams said he hasn’t had any customers inquire about Blue Bell products. He suspects most people have heard about the recall, and know not to purchase Blue Bell products.

“If it can cause a serious health problem, then that’s what we have to do — take it off our shelves,” Williams said. “I just wish there weren’t so many empty spots because of it.”

Blue Bell products have also been recalled from the Natchez Walmart, Natchez Markets and the Cash Saver.

Major grocery stores are not the only provider of the ice cream product, though.

Along with cups full of caffeine, Natchez Coffee Company also sells Blue Bell products.

“We were told to close all the cartons,” said the coffee shop’s manager, who wished to be unnamed.

Some restaurants, like the Malt Shop on Homochitto Street, have been unaffected by the recall.

Jessica Harrison, cashier at the Malt Shop, said the shop uses LuVel Milk and Ice Cream products for all their sweet treats.

Eleanor Warner looks into the ice cream freezer that usually has Blue Bell Ice Cream in it at Natchez Coffee Company. Natchez Coffee Company still has ice cream, but has pulled all of their Blue Bell. They will carry the product again.  (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Eleanor Warner looks into the ice cream freezer that usually has Blue Bell Ice Cream in it at Natchez Coffee Company. Natchez Coffee Company still has ice cream, but has pulled all of their Blue Bell. They will carry the product again. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

“We’ve been extra busy the past few days,” Harrison said. “I don’t know if that’s because of the recall, but it may be.”

According to a press release released Monday by Blue Bell, Mississippi is among 23 states affected by the recall.

The recall was the result of an enhanced sampling program by Blue Bell, which revealed that chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream produced on March 17 and March 27 contained the bacteria.

“This means we have now had several positive tests for Listeria in different places and plants,” said Blue Bell Creameries CEO and President Paul Kruse in a press release.

According to the release, five patients were treated in Kansas and three in Texas after testing positive for the bacteria.

Until further notice, Blue Bell is advising customers return all Blue Bell products to the place of purchase for a full refund.