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Kellogg plant still closed but no listeria found

By Rory Harrington , 16-Sep-2009

The Kellogg’s food plant shutdown earlier this month on listeria fears remains at a standstill, the company has confirmed.

But the firm said its investigation, which was almost complete, had found no listeria and it expected production at the US plant in Atlanta to begin in the near future.

Kellogg halted output at its Eggo Waffle facility in Bucknell Drive on September 2 after officials from the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) discovered traces of Listeria monocytogenes in a food sample. The company issued a nationwide voluntary recall of some of its Eggo waffles from “out of an abundance of caution”.

No listeria found

Two weeks on, the plant remains closed although Kellogg told FoodProducitonDaily.com it expected production to begin soon. The company said some 4,500 cases of waffles had been recalled but that no other products had been affected.

“Routine testing identified that the recalled products were produced on a line that could potentially have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes", said the Kellogg spokesman. “None of the recalled products have tested positive.”

The food giant said it had launched an investigation into hygiene at the plant which included carrying out a full regimen of cleaning and sanitation – which it hope to finish over the next few days.

Production to restart

Kellogg said: “We are working closely with the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the FDA on approval to start production. We expect to complete our hygienic sanitation efforts later this week and start producing food soon after.”

Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes can cause listeriosis, a potentially serious disease. The most common manifestation of listeriosis is meningitis. Listeriosis can also cause miscarriages and stillbirths, as well as serious and sometimes fatal infections to infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems such as persons with chronic diseases or taking chemotherapy for cancer.

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