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    Coronet Foods Closes Its Doors

    Publicity over Sheetz salmonella case caused drop in sales.

    WHEELING, W. Va. -- Company officials with Coronet Foods, the supplier of produce to Altoona, Pa.-based Sheetz Inc. during the company’s salmonella outbreak in July, said late Thursday afternoon that the company will close its doors today, according to the Wheeling News-Register. The move affects about 200 employees at Coronet's facilities in Fulton, W. Va.

    Company officials said the action is being taken as a consequence of the sudden reduction in volume Coronet experienced following the salmonella incident.

    Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Coronet of responsibility for the salmonella outbreak, the losses of sales that resulted from the adverse publicity made it impossible for the firm to continue operations, officials noted.

    Salmonella bacteria was found in Roma tomatoes sold in sandwiches at a Sheetz store in western Pennsylvania. Coronet, which supplied the tomatoes, was investigated as a possible source for the outbreak, which sickened numerous customers. However, FDA officials later cleared Coronet and its products.

    Coronet executives sold its western division, based in Salinas, Calif., about four to six weeks ago.

    "Coronet Foods has been working long hours to put together a deal to have the company to continue to operate. Those attempts have not been successful. The company will continue to seek partners and interested parties," said Coronet CEO Ernie Pascua.

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