Blue Bell Ice Cream licker faces up to 20 years in prison, police say

LUFKIN, Texas -- With federal charges being considered in the case of a viral video ice cream licking, police in the Lufkin, Texas, area say they will meet with the Food and Drug Administration on Friday to discuss the recorded contamination.

On Wednesday, the police department said it is not resting until the now-infamous Blue Bell licker and a man she is pictured with on surveillance video are caught, even if it means working through Thursday's Fourth of July holiday.

A girl from San Antonio has been identified as the suspect seen licking a Blue Bell ice cream tub and then placing it back in a store freezer, police said.

On Friday, Lufkin Police Department said the juvenile suspect's identity is not being released and the case is being turned over to the juvenile courts.

Mark Gorman, the director of the juvenile probation department in the girl's home county, Angelina County, told ABC13 they are aware of the case and are discussing with Lufkin PD on how to handle it.

Gorman added there is the possibility that San Antonio area authorities could be the ones to arrest and prosecute her. The girl has not yet been arrested.

The company said it was considering steps to protect its packaging. In a statement Friday, Blue Bell said, "We are always looking for ways to improve, including looking at methods within our manufacturing process to add additional protection to the carton."

Earlier in the week, police stated they were looking at federal charges in the case. They said the suspect faces a felony charge of tampering with a consumer product, which carries a prison term of up to 20 years.

According to Gorman, she could still face a felony count, but prosecutors could reduce the charge since she is a juvenile.

Detectives also want to know the identity of the man in the green shirt who entered the store with her.

In a statement on its website immediately following the posting, Blue Bell said concerned customers should notice any tampering, because their half gallon ice cream lids are frozen tightly to the carton with a natural seal.

Full Blue Bell statement:

We want to thank our consumers for alerting us to the recent food tampering incident. We take this issue very seriously and are currently working with law enforcement, retail partners and social media platforms. This type of incident will not be tolerated.

Food safety is a top priority, and we work hard to provide a safe product and maintain the highest level of confidence from our consumers.
During production, our half gallons are flipped upside down and sent to a hardening room where the ice cream freezes to create a natural seal. The lids are frozen tightly to the carton. Any attempt at opening the product should be noticeable.

We will continue to monitor this situation.
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