Ice cream-maker Blue Bell continues to investigate after a viral video
last week showed a suspect opening a container of the company's ice
cream inside a grocery store, licking the contents, and then returning
the container to the store's freezer.
Blue Bell believes the viral video was shot in a Walmart store in
Lufkin, Texas. The company added that it had all tubs of its Tin
Roof-flavor ice cream removed from the store as a precaution,
according to a statement.
Meanwhile, the Lufkin Police Department said it plans to file
“appropriate charges” against the suspect -- dubbed the "Lufkin
Licker" in some reports -- when she is apprehended, according to a
department Facebook post.
"Detectives believe they have the woman identified," the post says.
On Wednesday the company said it believes it has identified the exact
container that appears in the video.
“Based on security footage, the location and the inspection of the
carton, we believe we may have recovered the half gallon that was
tampered with,” Blue Bell said, according to Fort Worth’s KTXA-TV.
Surveillance footage from the Lufkin Walmart shows a woman who
resembles the suspect in the viral video, police said. The
surveillance footage was shot around 11 p.m. last Friday, they said.
After the video hit the Internet on Friday, Blue Bell began
investigating Walmart locations in San Antonio, Houston and eventually
Lufkin after social media comments suggested the woman was from the
San Antonio area.
The company honed in on the Lufkin location after a Blue Bell division
manager said “unique merchandising” found on his store’s display
shelves matched the background of the video.
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“Our biggest concern is consumer safety – in that regard we are glad
to see the tainted product off the shelves,” Gerald Williamson,
Lufkin's director of public safety, said on the town’s Police & Fire
Blue Bell reps said the company's ice cream is packaged upside down in
a way that freezes the ice cream to the roof of the container on
purpose so that any tampering can be easily spotted by the consumer,
according to Dallas–Fort Worth's FOX 4.
The ice cream manufacturer has faced contamination issues in the past.
In 2015, Blue Bell halted production after 10 people were hospitalized
across four states from eating ice cream infecting with listeria, CBS
News reported. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
announced that three people in Kansas died that year from eating the
bacteria-tainted ice cream and warned the public against consuming
Blue Bell products.
Lufkin, a city of about 36,000 residents, is about 120 miles northeast