Blue Bell Creameries, which was battered by a listeria outbreak, said it is using advanced testing for the bacteria to help identify areas where the bacteria has the potential to grow.

The Brenham, Texas-based ice cream maker said it periodically expects to find indications of the bacteria because of the company¹s improved testing procedures.

"Because listeria is commonly found in the natural environment, no manufacturer can ever assume it can be entirely eradicated," the company said in a press release. The company said its "seek and destroy" testing methods are working.

"We have identified locations where suspected listeria species may be present in our facility, and we continue to extensively clean and sanitize those areas and make additional enhancements to the facility and our procedures based on the environmental test results," the company said.

Blue Bell also said it will continue to test every batch of ice cream produced and continues to work closely with regulatory agencies to make sure its ice cream is safe for consumers.

Blue Bell halted production from April to August after its products were linked to 10 listeria illnesses in four states, including three deaths.

Blue Bell ice cream returned to south Louisiana grocery stores about a week before Christmas.

Editors note: This brief was updated to clarify no listeria has been found in production facilities.