Texas ice cream maker Blue Bell wants precautions eased

Blue Bell personnel Freddie Hugo, from left, Rickey Seilheimer, and Charlie Franke stock freezers with Blue Bell products early Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, in Brenham, Texas. Blue Bell Creameries resumed selling its products at select locations Monday, four months after the Texas-based retailer halted sales due to listeria contamination. Blue Bell ice cream is now available at stores in the Houston and Austin areas, including in the company's hometown of Brenham, plus parts of Alabama. (Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle via AP)

HOUSTON (AP) – The Houston Chronicle is reporting Texas-based ice cream maker Blue Bell wants federal regulators to ease precautions in place since a deadly listeria outbreak and allow the company to return to more normal procedures followed by its competitors.

The newspaper, reviewing documents obtained under a federal open records request, says Blue Bell has been working for months with a laboratory to develop tests to meet federal Food and Drug Administration requirements, prevent future outbreaks and help Blue Bell improve its economics.

An attorney for Blue Bell, Joseph Levitt, has written the FDA that it’s time for the company “to transition to the industry norm.”

Blue Bell had to shut its flagship Brenham creamery for several months after last year’s recall was linked to 10 listeria cases in four states, including three deaths in Kansas.

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