It's going to be a slow return to store shelves for Blue Bell Ice Cream.

Blue Bell has announced its plans to get their products back on store shelves, and unfortunately East Texas will not be among the first markets served.

Blue Bell is reintroducing its products to markets in five phases and has notified the U.S. FDA and state health officials in Alabama and Texas about their plans.

Currently there is one production facility online in Sylacauga, Ala., running at capacity. Blue Bell's other plants in Brenham and Broken Bow, Okla., are still undergoing production process upgrades, according to a Blue Bell press statement.

Ricky Dickson, vice president of sales and marketing at Blue Bell, said in a video segment:

Over the past several months we have been working to make our facilities even better, and to ensure that everything we produce is safe, wholesome and of the highest quality for you to enjoy. This is an exciting time for us as we are back to doing what we love…making ice cream!”

Production limitations hamper full scale re-introduction but will return to stores in five separate phases:

  • Phase 1: Aug. 31 in Brenham, Houston, Austin and parts of Alabama (Birmingham and Montgomery where the production facility is located).
  • Phase 2: North central Texas and southern Oklahoma
  • Phase 3: Southwest Texas and central Oklahoma
  • Phase 4: The majority of Texas and southern Louisiana
  • Phase 5: Complete the states of Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas and begin distribution in Arkansas, Florida, northern Louisiana and Mississippi. This phase will also include only parts of the following states: Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

No dates have been given for Phases 2 through 5, or if East Texas is going to be considered in Phases 2 or 4.

You can also follow along with an interactive map on the return of Blue Bell, too!

My only hope is that East Texas is considered part of Phase 2 because it's been one really long summer without Blue Bell ice cream.

Video Statement from Blue Bell's Ricky Dickson