Area grocers pull Castleberry products

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 26, 2007

On Monday, Castleberry Food Company expanded its list of recalled items that could contain the bacteria that causes botulism.

It is the latest in a series of companies, this year, to recall food products due to contamination.

On Monday, the recall also affected local grocers. Super Foods Assistant Manager Dale Brown said he pulled the recalled items off the shelves on Monday.

&#8220I pulled them myself,” he said. &#8220We're now waiting to send them back to the company.”

Castleberry closed its production facility in Augusta, Ga., after 16 cans of chili sauce tested positive over the weekend for the bacteria that causes botulism, company officials said Monday.

Four cases of botulism - two from Indiana and two from Texas - have been reported. All four people consumed Hot Dog Chili Sauce Original, a product made by Castleberry's.

An outside firm is working for Castleberry now and plans to visit more than 8,500 retailers through the county to help get possibly tainted

The announcement that the recall was expanding came Saturday, when it announced it was recalling 80 types of canned chili, beef stew, corned beef hash and other products it recalled on July 17.

Brown said anyone with a product purchased at Super Foods can return it.

&#8220We were told that anyone who brought a product back and insisted on a refund, we are to satisfy them,” Brown said.

Super Foods is not the only store to remove the food items. Wal-Mart immediately pulled the items.

&#8220We pulled everything from the shelves as soon as we heard the news,” Bill McCrary manager at the Wal-Mart Super Center in Greenville. &#8220We never want to take any chances with something like that.”

The Wal-Mart manager said any customers with cans of Castleberry products purchased from the store were welcome to return them to Wal-Mart for a refund.

&#8220Our goal is to always take care of the customer,” McCrary said.

The Greenville Piggly Wiggly reported they are also offering full refunds on Castleberry products purchased at their store.

The recall is the latest in a handful of major food product recalls so far this year. Earlier this year, Peter Pan and Great Value brands of peanut butter made in ConAgra's Sylvester, Ga., plant were recalled after a Salmonella scare.

Castleberry's officials said they were working closely with the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture to determine the severity of the case.

Botulism is a rare but serious illness caused by consuming foods with the botulinim toxin, a nerve toxin that left untreated can cause paralysis of the arms, breathing muscles and legs. Symptoms, such as blurred vision and slurred speech, generally begin 18 to 36 hours after eating a contaminated food.

The company has also asked consumers to dispose of any questionable goods from Castleberry's in doubled plastic bags. Consumers can get full refunds simply by calling the company. The company is not asking consumers to bring product labels into the grocery store so that they can get a refund.

Consumers with questions about the recall may contact Castleberry's at 1-888-203-8446.