HOUSTON – Blue Bell is laying off hundreds of workers following a recent Listeria outbreak and subsequent recall of its products.
The CEO announced Friday that the ice cream company is cutting 37-percent of its workforce, according to a CNN affiliate. The Listeria outbreak, which is blamed for three deaths in Kansas, was linked to its products.
CEO Paul Kruse said cleaning up four production plants will take longer than expected, and the company does not know when it will begin producing ice cream again.
Blue Bell plans to lay off 750 full-time and 700 part-time workers. It will also furlough 1,400 employees. This is contrary to a recent statement from a Blue Bell spokeswoman who stated the company hadn’t laid off anyone in the past 100 years and wouldn’t start now.
Some of the cuts will happen at distribution centers in ten states where the company says it’s ending all operations.
Blue Bell’s ice cream was sold in 23 states, and considered a top brand in the South. The company is privately held, and has been run by the same family for about 100 years.
CNN contributed to this report.