April 2009

Now after everything else went on — the suffering of the victims of botulism, the recall, the permanent closure of the facility–Bumble Bee Foods is suing Malo and Massmann saying the equipment provided at the plant was negligent in design and maintenance.

Bumble Bee ran the Castleberry’s plant when botulism toxin was found in its canned food products. They’ve filed a federal lawsuit in Augusta.

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.

The 82-year old food processing plant closed permanently last November, putting 325 people out of work. That followed a $38 million recall that closed the plant for two months in the summer of 2007 when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) blamed it for making people in three states sick with botulism.

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