Coronet Foods Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection one week after closing its Fulton facility. The bankruptcy filing came in the wake of the processing plant’s closure on Oct. 22. According to the court filing, Coronet has until Dec. 7 to file its list of creditors and its financial statement with the court. The company has a deadline of March 1 to file its plan of reorganization.
At the time of the closing, company officials cited a sudden reduction in volume, which Coronet reportedly experienced following a salmonella incident in July involving Sheetz convenience stores. The incident involving Sheetz reportedly sickened people in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Maryland, where customers reportedly had ingested salmonella bacteria in Roma tomatoes from sandwiches sold at the store.
In the wake of the incident Coronet Foods, which supplied the tomatoes to Sheetz, was investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine whether it was the source of the outbreak. Following the investigation, Coronet Foods and its products were cleared of responsibility by the FDA. However, company officials said that adverse publicity surrounding the incident resulted in a loss of sales making it impossible for the company to continue to operate.
The closure of the processing plant put more than 200 people out of work as the Fulton-based facility was a major employer in the Ohio Valley for nearly 40 years. Additionally, company officials sold the western division of Coronet about four to six weeks prior to the closure of the Wheeling processing plant.
The future of Coronet Foods and possible next steps in the bankruptcy proceedings remain unclear.