Castleberry's reopens

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September 17, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---The Castleberry's plant in downtown Augusta is open again after being closed for two months by a botulism problem.

It is an exciting day for employees. Today marks their first day back on the job since July.

Castleberry's Food Company has resumed production ahead of the projected schedule, which predicted reopening no sooner than mid-October.

The factory closed on July 21 in conjunction with a voluntary recall on more than 80 brands of canned chili, beef stew, corned beef hash and meat products. Operators feared possible contamination of the products with a toxin that can cause botulism.

At least four cases of botulism were reported throughout the United States in connection with Castleberry's recalled products.

But that's all a thing of the past. The plant has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture to resume operations, allowing them to resume production of a range of products and, more importantly, to call about 425 people back to work.

The plant closure cost the company about $35 million. Monthly distribution halted for about six months.

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