In interviews with the Houston Chronicle, more than a dozen former employees of Blue Bell’s flagship Brenham plant described a company fighting to keep up with its growing customer base while sanitation and safety slipped. Cleanup workers regularly ran out of hot water, making machinery susceptible to pathogens and allergens. Reused packaging brought grime into the factory. Equipment went without safeguards for years.
The 14 employees have a combined 213 years of experience on the production lines. Their accounts are bolstered by the limited information reported by the Food and Drug Administration. They’re also backed by an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigation that blasted the company for failing to protect workers
Blue Bell officials would not agree to an interview to discuss the ex-employees’ assessments of their operation. Spokesman Joe Robertson offered a one-paragraph response.
“We are a family at Blue Bell and we have always valued all of our employees and want them to feel safe and enjoy working here,” he said via email. “Our employees are our company’s greatest asset and many have spent their entire careers with us. Workplace safety, sanitation, and employee training remain our highest priorities as we continuously work to improve.”