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Final Victim of Botulism Outbreak: All 327 Castleberry Workers

The Connors Brothers Income Fund has dumped (oh, sold) its Castleberry brands to Hanover Foods Corp. It means the 82-year old Castleberry canning factory in Augusta, GA will be closed with the next 60 days.

The troubled canning factory was responsible for a botulism outbreak in late 2007. The 20-acre factory site is also on the block. The sale to Hanover will shift production of any Castleberry brands to the company’s Aunt Kitty’s Foods plant in scenic New Jersey.

Closure of the Castleberry’s canning factory will put 327 people out of work, according to the Augusta Chronicle. And its not a good time to be hitting the bricks. The newspaper said:

As Donte Jones walked through the Augusta plant’s gates after completing his shift Tuesday, the 21-year-old temporary worker said he was told of the closing just before 7 p.m.

“I’m just hoping they’ll call me back tomorrow,” said Mr. Jones, a loader for the company.

Having lived across the street from the plant since 1959, Mary Clayton said the closing would be catastrophic for the entire community.

“These are not good times for people to be out of work,” the retired Fort Gordon employee said. “I really hate for this to happen.”

Castleberry’s Toronto-based owner spent the past seven months investigating a sale of its meat division, prompted by a loss of $38 million when the plant shut down for two months in 2007 when botulism toxin was found in its chili sauce.

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