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Who would have thought that buying ice cream in a grocery store would be such a gamble?
On June 29, a video that quickly went viral on Twitter showed a teen in a Texas Walmart open the lid of a Blue Bell ice cream carton, and then proceed to lick the top layer of ice cream before putting it back on the shelf.
The clip of the unsanitary – and illegal – act spread far and wide, leading to the girl’s arrest, as well as at least one copycat. The copycat, a 36-year-old man from Louisiana, was also identified and is now facing charges.
Now, a Facebook post claims that in the wake of this ice cream crime, the Food and Drug Administration altered its packaging rules and now will require a seal to be placed on all cartons, thus driving up the cost of the product for consumers.
The post says:
"What she set in motion when she licked the Blue Bell Ice Cream. The FDA will now require sealed ice cream cartons. Yes, there will be a plastic skin tight seal on ice cream cartons now. This will increase the cost of ice cream as machines will need to be bought for the plants to seal the cartons and not to mention buying the sealing material and the extra electricity to run the machines. The plastic sealing material will now find its way to already stuffed Landfills thus taxing the garbage system even more. So remember when you see the seal on ice cream and a higher price it was her fault and her fault alone. This is what being a dumbass does to the rest of us who are not dumbasses. HAVE A NICE DAY!"
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
As gross as these ice cream lickers may be, the FDA has not yet made it a requirement that all ice cream companies have sealed cartons.
Peter Cassell, lead press officer for food emergencies and safety at the FDA, told PolitiFact the claim is not accurate.
"The issue that sparked this rumor is a matter for local law enforcement and the company that makes the ice cream," Cassell wrote in an email.
Some ice cream companies, such as Haagen Daz for example, already do have sealed containers.
In contrast to the Facebook post’s view of plastic seals being a burden, Blue Bell received quite a bit of flack on social media following the incident, as users questioned why its ice cream containers did not already have protective seals.
At first, the company said the production of its half gallons involved them being flipped upside down during which the ice cream freezes to the lid, "creating a natural seal ... Any attempt at opening the product should be noticeable," according to NBC’s Today.com.
But after the second Blue Bell ice cream licker emerged, the company released a statement saying that food safety is its top priority and that they are taking the tampering cases "very seriously."
"We are always looking for ways to improve," the statement said, "including looking at methods within our manufacturing process to add additional protection to the carton."
After a viral video showed a teen licking a Blue Bell ice cream tub before returning it to a Texas Walmart shelf, a post on Facebook claims the incident prompted the FDA to now require all ice cream companies add protective seals to their products, thus driving up the cost of ice cream.
But the FDA said the rumor is inaccurate and the incident is being handled by local law enforcement and the ice cream company affected.
Blue Bell, unlike some other ice cream companies, does not currently have sealed containers but said in a statement it is looking at methods "to add additions protection to the carton."
We rate this claim False.
Facebook post, July 15, 2019
Today, Woman licking tub of ice cream in viral video found by police, July 6, 2019
NBC News, Police find girl who licked Blue Bell ice cream in viral video, July 4, 2019
NY Daily News, SEE IT: Another Blue Bell ice cream licker caught in the act, July 8, 2019
Houston Chronicle, Blue Bell could add more protection to ice cream cartons after Texas licking incident, July 9, 2019
Email interview, Peter Cassell, lead press officer for food emergencies and safety at the FDA, July 16, 2019
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