ConAgra plant improvements continue -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

ConAgra plant improvements continue

June 15, 2007

Sylvester --  Four months after ConAgra shut down it's Sylvester Peter Pan Peter Butter plant over salmonella concerns another federal lawsuit is filed.

The suit was filed by an Indiana family who claims their 11-year-old daughter went into kidney failure from the bacteria in her peanut butter. Despite the lawsuits, ConAgra is moving forward with renovations at the Sylvester plant, and this week started putting a new roof on the building.

More than 600 people in 47 states were sickened by the salmonella bacteria in Peter Pan Peanut Butter. Monday, 11-year-old Krystina Brugh of Indiana will have a kidney transplant. Her parents are the latest to file a federal lawsuit claiming the bacteria in the peanut butter sickened Brugh's body.

 "It's a big concern to us that any consumer may have been harmed by our product and we are taking the steps necessary to address these concerns," said ConAgra spokeswoman Stephanie Childs.

"What you'll see outside the plant is we are replacing the roof as we said we would be doing," said Childs.

Inside the plant, work is also being done to remedy problems where the raw product contaminated the finished jars of peanut butter.

"There is work to redesign the interior layout to further separate the raw ingredients from the finished ingredients," Childs said.

Despite the plant's closure many employees have remained on the job. "About 70 percent of our employees are actually working at the plant right now helping with the process in one way or another."

Another processor has begun making Peter Pan and Great Value to put Peter Pan Peanut Butter back in consumer hands by late July.

Barring any construction delays this plant in Sylvester should be back in operation by late August.