The Lufkin Police Department in a statement on Facebook said they have launched an investigation into a viral video that depicted a woman licking an ice cream product before putting it back on the shelf.
The video which was first posted onto social media on June 28, sparked outrage and concerns among viewers over possible food contamination. The woman was seen holding a Blue Bell-branded tub of ice cream in her hand while another friend was heard saying "Lick it, lick it...". After that, the friend said "put it back..." which she did and walked away smiling.
Police said they have identified the woman based on surveillance video and will be filing appropriate charges. They also confirmed that the supermarket has removed all Blue Bell-branded ice cream tubs, specifically the type of product shown in the video, from the shelves in the store.
“Our biggest concern is consumer safety, in that regard we are glad to see the tainted product off the shelves,” Lufkin Director of Public Safety Gerald Williamson said in a statement.
According to a report on NBC News, the woman could be facing a second-degree felony charge of tampering with a consumer product. The charges come with a two to 20 year prison term and up to US$10,000 (RM41,354) in fines. A police spokesperson told NBC News that they are also looking into identifying her male companion in the surveillance footage.
“Our detectives are working to verify the identity of the female suspect before a warrant is issued for her arrest on a charge of second-degree felony tampering with a consumer product. As that portion of the investigation continues, detectives are focusing on identifying the male (in the green shirt) behind the camera seen in images of the two entering the store together.”
Some users have expressed frustrations over how the woman's ice cream licking video has inspired copycat postings on social media.
With this nasty ice cream challenge where people lick the product and out it back on the shelf - companies are gonna have to put a "do not consume if open" label now ..— The White Russian??DCI Mesquite (@tonyblazze3) July 5, 2019
In the store today, saw a couple young girls laughing a bit too hard in the ice cream aisle. Had to creep 2 make sure they weren't licking ice cream for a viral video but they were just being normal kids. These damn ice cream videos got me real paranoid! #icecreamchallenge— Melbonk (@melbonk) July 5, 2019
Youngsters messing with food items in supermarkets and then showing it off on social media content is a worrying trend. Last month, three youths from Nilai in Negeri Sembilan were remanded for four days after posting a video on social media which showed one of them damaging several food items at a convenience store.