March 2008

WJBF-TV 6, the ABC affiliate in Augusta, GA, tonight (3/27/08) is reporting that the Castleberry’s canning factory in that city will re-open on Monday.  According to the WJBF report:

Officials with Augusta’s Castleberry’s food plant say they’re hoping to re-open the plant Monday. The FDA suspended the plant’s temporary operating permit a couple weeks ago. That permit was issued after a July 2007 nationwide recall of hot dog chili made at the plant.

Last summer’s recall came after botulism was found in some of the company’s canned chili.  No recall was involved in the latest closure.  There were rumors within the food industry that the Canadian owners might be trying to sell the brand and the factory.

TV 6’s report can be found here.

Two coastal counties, Brunswick and Horry, in North Carolina are experiencing one horse death after another and botulism is being blamed.

WECT 6 in Wilmington, NC is reporting that tainted food is suspected.   WECT says:

John Vogt is relieved and surprised his 22 year old horse, Buckshot, is still alive.  Another of his horses was sick like Buckshot and died.

Both horses lived a farm in Shallotte.

When Buckshot got sick, he was rushed to N.C. State’s Vet Hospital, and treated for botulism..

An autopsy performed on the dead horse in inconclusive, but the pathologist said it is likely it died from botulism.

When Vogt’s horses got sick, he started looking for a common denominator, and all signs pointed to the food.

"They were fed last in the feed group. They were fed out of a separate bag," said Vogt.

That food was Country Acres Horse feed by Purina.

The complete WECT story can be found here.

 

Here’s the company’s statement issued after the news came out that Castleberry’s Food Company has again closed its Augusta, Georgia canning factory: 

Castleberry’s Food Company has received notification that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suspended the Temporary Emergency Operating Permit that was issued in September 2007. The permit granted permission for the Augusta, Georgia factory to commence production of FDA products, following a July 2007 voluntary product recall.

Castleberry’s will work closely with the FDA to promptly answer questions and address any possible concerns. Although formal notification has not yet been received, we understand that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) may also require responses.

During this time, Castleberry’s has decided to cease production of all products in the Augusta, Georgia factory. Factory work shifts are temporarily on hold.

We are cooperating fully with the agencies and look forward to a prompt resolution that we can resume operation and work shifts.

It is important to note that the suspension of our temporary permit does not involve any product recall.

For another pair of eyes on the closure, check out what Elizabeth Lee has to say in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Her story inluding the history of Castleberry’s bout with botulism can be found here.