Just when ice cream lovers thought they were in the clear, Blue Bell ice cream is expanding their recall to include two lots of Blue Bunny Hoppin’ Holidoodle … and a follow-up announcement states the company may soon expand its recall to include all flavors with any cookie dough. According to reports, most recently by CNN, the dough may contain listeria.
Blue Bell is blaming a third party supplier, Aspen Hills, which provided the ingredients which tested positive for listeria in at least two varieties of Blue Bell ice cream. At this point, Blue Bell is calling the issue a “potential problem,” claiming that no one has reported getting sick from eating the ice cream.
But that may not be the case for long. CNN reported the seasonal variety in question is distributed in at least six states – Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arizona, and Texas – and the recalled flavors have “best buy” dates that range into 2018. So folks might have them in their freezers for a long while and not even know they could be in danger.
This “not knowing” is key to the PR crisis Blue Bell now faces. While consumers can read in black and white that it’s only two brands affected, they won’t be that choosy when they’re standing in the freezer section of the supermarket. They will remember the brand, but not the details. In most cases this will cause folks to pick another brand, rather than trying their luck with a Blue Bell variety that is probably completely safe … just to avoid any potential issues.
It’s not an unreasonable choice. Listeria can be fatal, so it’s nothing to take lightly. Because most American consumers take for granted the food they buy is safe, and that there are safeguards in place to protect them and their children, this sort of news doesn’t just hit their rational brains … it lodges in their hearts and attacks the emotions.
Worry and fear should not be a part of the average trip to the grocery store, so folks will take the path that removes this, rather than thinking about it further. That’s where the narrative is for Blue Bell, and that’s what they’re up against … even if no one ever gets sick.