Equipment blamed for botulism in food

Source of Article: http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/04/02/bus_516850.shtml

 

By Sandy Hodson and Tim Rausch| Staff Writers

Thursday, April 02, 2009

 

The company running the Castleberry's plant when botulism toxin was found in its food products has filed suit against the manufacturer of its sterilization equipment.

Bumble Bee Foods filed the federal lawsuit in Augusta against Malo Inc. and Massmann Enterprises last week. Bumble Bee contends the toxic outbreak was caused by the companies' negligent design and maintenance.

Bumble Bee managed Castleberry's 15th Street plant for the Connors Bros. Income Fund. It sold the rights to make Castleberry's products to another company, which closed the Augusta plant in November.

Castleberry's had supplied jobs to area residents for 82 years. When the doors shut in November, 325 people lost employment.

The plant was shut down for two months in the summer of 2007 after the Centers for Disease Control said botulism toxin from its chili sauce sickened people in three states. The resulting recall would cost the company more than $38 million.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the botulism toxin resulted from poor maintenance on two cookers and inadequate management oversight.

In the lawsuit, Bumble Bee blames Malo and Massman, contending that a design flaw disguised a leaking valve in the sterilization equipment.

From the Thursday, April 02, 2009 edition of the Augusta Chronicle


 

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