Blaming adverse publicity from a salmonella outbreak this past summer that sickened more than 400 people, Coronet Foods said it was ceasing operations today at its plant in Wheeling, West Virginia, leaving 220 workers without jobs.
The plant, which supplied bagged salads, vegetables and fruits to customers in about 20 states in New England, the Midwest and the mid-Atlantic region, informed its workers at the close of business yesterday.
Coronet distributed sliced Roma tomatoes used in sandwiches sold at Sheetz convenience stores. About 330 Pennsylvanians who ate the sandwiches got sick with salmonella, and the outbreak is believed to have sickened another 80 people in nearby states.
After the outbreak, Coronet lost its business with Sheetz, responsible for about 8 percent of revenues. Coronet, which has operated in Wheeling for nearly 40 years, was unable to find buyers or partners that would allow the business to continue.
The company is continuing discussions with several prospective buyers, but no firm purchase offers have been made. The company said it would keep its human resources office open temporarily and work with local employment assistance services to help workers find jobs.