Castleberry plant closed over safety fears

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food and drug administration

Castleberry, the US-based food company linked to botulism-tainted
food last summer, has now been temporarily closed by the Food and
Drug Administration (FDA).

Last year, the firm recalled nine products after several cases of the disease were traced back to its Hot Dog Chili Sauce Original products. At least four people fell sick from the potentially fatal pathogen, whose symptoms include difficult breathing, slurred speech, vomiting, urinary incontinence and sometimes diarrhea. There were no deaths reported, but the recall was later expanded to include all products, and cost the company about $35m in total. Since the outbreak the company had been operating on a temporary permit, which was pulled last week due to problems on a processing line spotted during an inspection, the FDA said. According to Castleberry, there is no recall associated with the latest closure, although the firm did not say why the plant was shut. "We are cooperating fully with the agencies​,"​ said senior vice president Dave Melbourne in a statement. The closure is the latest in a number of safety fears tainting the reputation of the US food factories. Earlier this month the United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW) accused Agriprocessors, the largest kosher meat firm in the US, of violating food safety laws and failing to protect consumers from the risk of E.coli and mad cow disease. And in February, the Hallmark/Westland​ Meat Packing Company initiated a voluntary recall of 143,383,823 pounds of raw and frozen beef products - the largest the country has ever seen - after an investigation by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS​). FSIS investigated the Hallmark/Westland plant following an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States, which resulted in video footage of plant employees mistreating cattle. The raft of problems led to US lawmakers demanding further food safety measures, urging food manufacturers to provide serious recommendations and strongly support legislation to "ensure the safety of the nation's food".

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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