Sylvester's ConAgra plant should reopen soon - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sylvester's ConAgra plant should reopen soon

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 August 1, 2007

 
Sylvester  --  It shut down six months ago after a nationwide Salmonella outbreak traced back to Peter Pan Peanut Butter made at the plant and the company spent nearly $20 million to strip down and rebuild the plant.    

ConAgra officials toured the renovated facility over the last two days as they work to get Peter Pan back on store shelves.

Outside the ConAgra plant in Sylvester there's a distinct smell of roasted peanuts in the air for the first time since February.

"It's a great smell in our community, being the peanut capital of the world and all the Peter Pan Peanut Butter produced in Sylvester, Georgia, it's great to have them back up and running again," said Mayor Bill Yearta.

Over the last six months there's been nearly $20 million in renovations to the Sylvester plant the new roof is now complete and as production gets set to resume there are more trucks stacking up in the parking lot. 

"Right now we're in the final stages of preparing to reopen the facility, we're still on schedule to reopen our plant in August," said ConAgra spokeswoman Stephanie Childs. 

Employees were busy today shuttling in new equipment, the production line has been completely stripped and rebuilt.

"We've made a number of changes inside the plant, you've seen some changes outside the plant as well to the outside facility, but we're also in the process of finalizing our production capabilities," said Childs.

While the plant is testing its new line, Peter Pan Peanut Butter produced elsewhere by a co-producer should be turning up on store shevles any day now to customer's delight.

"Yes, I miss it and I'm glad it's fixing to come back on the shelves," said Peter Pan customer Dannie Richardson. 

Over the next few weeks, ConAgra will resume production and role out a new and improved product for Peter Pan lovers. 

Hundreds of people were sickened nationwide after a roof leak allowed salmonella bacteria to get into jars of Peanut Buttert.  The plant hasn't produced any peanut butter since February 13th.

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