Blue Bell CEO calls post-recall layoffs ‘agonizing’

The ice cream maker is laying off more than 1/3 of its workforce, and hitting another 1,400 with furloughs.

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The listeria contamination that resulted in Blue Bell’s ice cream being removed from store freezer cases and three documented deaths has now claimed hundreds of jobs.

According to a press release from the company late last week, 750 full-time employees and another 700 part-time employees will be laid off. That represents 37 percent of the company’s workforce. About 1,400 additional employees will be furloughed. Yet another group of employees will take pay cuts.

“We’re all part of one team, and we tried to keep everyone on the payroll for as long as possible,” Blue Bell CEO and President Paul Kruse said in a video message.

Kruse added, “This is a terribly sad day for all of us at the company, and for me personally. We are needing to take this step to ensure a successful return, and the possibility of a strong future for Blue Bell Creameries, but it still hurts, a lot.”

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