Update: Blue Bell finds areas in its facilities where listeria might be located, says ice cream still safe to eat _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- After a listeria outbreak last summer shut down production, Blue Bell Ice Cream returned to New Orleans area grocers like Rouses Market Monday, December 21, 2015. Chantal Sly couldn't decide which flavor to buy she was so excited.

Months after a recall of the company's popular ice cream, Blue Bell released a statement this week that "suspected listeria" was found in a production facility, although not in the ice cream itself.

But on Friday the company issued a clarification, saying the bacteria hasn't positively been identified. Instead, the company wrote that they found areas where listeria might be located and are working to sanitize those areas.

"In our facilities, we have identified suspected areas where bacteria may be present but in no case have we confirmed Listeria monocytogenes," the statement read.

The statement emphasized that the company has established "enhanced" testing procedures to prevent contamination and that discovery of the bacteria is part of those efforts. Every batch of ice cream is tested for the bacteria, the statement said.

Blue Bell resumed distribution in Louisiana last month. The company restarted production last month in its hometown of Brenham, 70 miles northwest of Houston.

Blue Bell was linked to 10 listeria cases, including three deaths in Kansas. Listeria bacteria can cause serious illness, especially in older adults, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.

Editor's note: This article was updated to reflect Blue Bell's clarification.