Job losses at Georgia peanut butter plant

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

News continues to stir as more information is released about tainted peanut butter products from the Blakely, Georgia plant. With heated safety concern, officials have closed the plant lying off dozens of employees.

What used to house approximately 50 employees, lays silent and waiting to hear if it will go back to a fully operational company.

Fred Large has a friend who used to be employed at the Blakely, Georgia plant.

"He told me the plant was shut down, they were locked downtown, everybody's laid off, indefinitely and there's no answer on when its going to open, and if it's going to open," said Large.

To take adequate health measures, officials with Peanut Corporation of America chose to close the plant. There are talks of closing the plant indefinitely; however, officials say they are taking things day by day.

Mayor of Blakely, Ric Hall, said, "If these allegations were proven to be true than certainly we would be disappointed to know that this happened in the past and that nothing was done to correct the problems that existed at that facility."

Mayor Hall says publicity is welcomed for the city but this type is not what he was hoping for. To put even more strain on the community, more than 100 employees have also been laid off at the local paper mill.

"There are not a lot of opportunities for 50 people to find other employment, there's not a lot going on Blakely," Mayor Hall said.

Sandra Cooper is a local business owner and says job losses are causing a domino effect.

"We're a small town so anything that affects a business affects all the businesses, small and large, so we were hoping it were not so," says Cooper.

Residents are hoping to hear something positive and get back to the way things were.

News 4 spoke with someone with the Peanut Corporation of America and he said they are monitoring the situation and working closely with the FDA to put all of this to an end. He said there is no word on when or if the plant will re-open.

A senior lawmaker in congress and Georgia’s agriculture commissioner have called for a criminal investigation of the company, however FDA says that step is too premature.

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