UT searches for other brands of ice cream to replace Blue Bell after recall

Vinesh Kovelamudi

After the recall of all Blue Bell Creameries ice cream on April 20, students are finding empty freezers where the Dutch Chocolate and Homemade Vanilla cartons used to be.

Following the announcement of the voluntary recall of Blue Bell products, the Division of Housing and Food Services (DHFS) removed all Blue Bell from campus stores in case of possible contamination of listeria, and DFHS is now considering different brands to fill the ice cream void. 

“One of the ice cream companies that comes straight to mind is Blue Bunny,” said Rene Rodriguez, DHFS food service director. “Ben & Jerry’s would also like to expand their brands [on campus].”

Civil engineering freshman Matthew Yu said he would embrace the expansion of Ben & Jerry’s on campus.

“The Ben & Jerry’s products in [Jester City Limits] are already delicious,” Yu said. “I can only imagine how much better JCL will become when there are new Ben & Jerry’s flavors.”

Rodriguez said there is no timetable for the new ice cream supply because food services has to consider many variables, including cost and student feedback.

“Anytime we bring in new products, we like to get student feedback in samplings and telling [students] this is what we are going to have to charge,” Rodriguez said.

According to Rodriguez, DHFS may not bring back Blue Bell products, even if the company ends its current recall of products. Rodriguez said DHFS did not appreciate Blue Bell’s initial response after DHFS recalled all Blue Bell products even though Blue Bell first recalled only select products.  

“[Blue Bell] was only going to credit us [financially] for the items that were affected in the recall,” Rodriguez said. “And we pulled everything because we did not want to take a chance.”

Rodriguez said DHFS understands Blue Bell was making a strategic business decision to not fully reimburse food services for the initial recall. Once the recall expanded to all Blue Bell products, Blue Bell reimbursed food services for all of the items.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, headaches, confusion, loss of balance and possible intestinal problems.

Biochemistry freshman Evan Gabriel said he anticipates the incoming freshman class to feel the effect of the possible permanent removal of Blue Bell products from on-campus markets.

“I think a lot of incoming freshman would be disappointed to not see Blue Bell as one of their late-night snacking options,” Gabriel said.