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Blue Bell to lay off 1,450 workers

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BRENHAM, Texas – Blue Bell Creameries says it will lay off more than a third of its workforce following a series of listeria illnesses linked to its ice cream that prompted a total product recall.

The Texas company, whose production plants remain closed, released a statement Friday saying 750 full-time employees and 700 part-time workers are losing their jobs. That represents about 37 percent of the company's 3,900 employees.

Blue Bell says another 1,400 workers will be furloughed, and employees essential to the ongoing clean-up and repair efforts will continue working but have their pay reduced.

Word of the layoffs comes one day after state health officials announced they had reached an agreement with the company about steps that would need to be taken to resume production.