On April 20 2015, Blue Bell Ice Cream recalled all of its products made in Brenham, Texas including ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks due to a Listeria monocytogenes scare. According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, listeria monocytogenes is an infection that targets pregnant women and their newborns, the elderly and people with weak immune systems. Unfortunately, most times people with listeria require hospital care and 1 in 5 people die from the infection.
With this information in mind, Blue Bell published a press release yesterday explaining the measures the company was willing to take to ensure safety with their consumers. “We’re committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe,” said Paul Kruse, the president and CEO of Blue Bell.
According to the press release, the bacteria was found in a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream half-gallon made on March 17, 2015 and March 27, 2015.
Blue Bell stated that they will be implementing a new procedure called “test and hold”, in which they will test all products first, then hold them from being released to the market until the tests are proven safe. Along with “test and hold”, Blue Bell released that they will be furthering safety procedures including: “expanding our already robust system of daily cleaning and sanitizing of equipment, expanding our system of swabbing and testing our plant environment by 800 percent to include more surfaces, sending samples daily to a leading microbiology laboratory for testing and providing additional employee training”. Luckily for Blue Bell consumers, if they have purchased any product they are allowed to return it for a full refund as well.
I first read about Blue Bell’s recall this morning and I must say I’m impressed with the timely press release and crisis management plan. Clearly, Blue Bell had a PR management plan in place in the event that they would be put in the public eye for a crisis as serious as contaminated products. I think it was smart of the company to release all the information they could to the public, this eradicates any skepticism the public might have and also shows the public that Blue Bell takes this seriously, and is being proactive in figuring out how the contamination started. Also, by including the steps that they will take to ensure safer production and more thorough tests, Blue Bell appears transparent and with nothing to hide from the public.
What do you think about Blue Bell’s crisis management strategy?