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Attorneys finalize a probe into Sylvester’s Peter Pan plant

Susan McCord of the Albany Herald wrote that:

About 15 investigators and attorneys gathered with ConAgra Foods attorneys outside the Sylvester Peter Pan plant Friday morning on a second day of inspections at the plant.

Personal injury lawyer Dave Babcock, from Seattle law firm Marler Clark, said he was accompanied by a sanitation expert who would make observations inside the plant on their second and final court-ordered day to inspect the plant.

Not long after, Plant Manager Earl Ehret requested that press leave ConAgra premises. Ehret took over as manager of the Sylvester plant earlier this year, days before the Food and Drug Administration linked a nationwide outbreak of salmonella to peanut butter produced there.

Ehret replaced Tom Gentle, who had managed the Sylvester plant for about three years. Gentle now works at another ConAgra facility, Ehret said.  Since the Feb. 14 recall, the FDA states that 425 people have been made ill by the peanut butter.  Last week, ConAgra announced its plans to completely renovate the Sylvester plant while it resumes production of Peter Pan at another location.  Peter Pan is expected back on store shelves in July, while the Sylvester plant is expected to be making peanut butter again in early August, ConAgra communication director Stephanie Childs said.

A few items of interest:

24)        Was asked by Engineer to look at dead rodent specimen in Maintenance Room
25)        Proceeded to Maintenance Room
26)        Observed decomposing desiccated rodent carcass (young rat or mouse)
27)        Request made to escorts to take rodent carcass as a sample
28)        Request denied by escorts
29)        Swabbed rodent carcass
30)        Found decomposed rodent remains including bones and other body appendages, hair
31)        Sampled decomposed rodent remains
50)        Was asked by a co-worker to look at a hole in an upper wall in an upper area of room
51)        Proceeded to upper area of mixing room
52)        Observed hole in wall penetrating to the outside
53)        Swabbed hole in wall
54)        Found bird feathers on pipe
72)        Swabbed food waste and bird dropping and a piece of suspected organic matter on roof surfaces