May 15, 2015 / 8:52 PM / 2 years ago

Ice cream maker Blue Bell Creameries to cut jobs, salaries

May 15 (Reuters) - Blue Bell Creameries said it would lay off about 750 full-time and 700 part-time employees, nearly a month after the ice cream maker voluntarily recalled all its products and stopped production due to bacterial contamination.

The cuts will affect about 37 percent of the Brenham, Texas-based company's total workforce of 3,900, a decision Chief Executive Paul Kruse described as an "agonizing" and "incredibly tough" in a video posted on the company's website on Friday. (bit.ly/1cEwomi)

Blue Bell also said it would furlough about 1,400 employees, cut salaries and suspend operations at some distribution centers.

The 108-year old company pulled its products from store shelves in April after continuing problems with the Listeria bacteria.

The recall came after health officials said three people made ill by Listeria between January 2014 and January 2015 had died in a Kansas hospital where Blue Bell frozen treats were served.

"We do not have a firm timeline for when we will start producing again, and when we do, we will start up in a more limited way," Kruse said.

Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Jennings

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