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Peter Pan, Great Value Peanut Butter recall

Peter Pan, Great Value Peanut Butter recall

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23.FEB.07

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – ConAgra Foods Inc. said Tuesday its nationwide recall of peanut butter will cost between $50 million and $60 million, hurting its third-quarter earnings.

ConAgra announced last Wednesday that it would recall all Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter made at its Sylvester, Ga., plant.{{more}}

Federal officials have linked the peanut butter to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened almost 300 people nationwide since August. No deaths have been reported.

The Omaha-based company said the recall costs of six cents to eight cents a share will drag its fiscal 2007 results to the lower end of its recent forecast.

ConAgra had said in December that it expected its fiscal 2007 earnings to come in between $1.28 and $1.33 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had been projecting 2007 earnings of $1.34 per share.

Shares of ConAgra rose two cents to $25.96 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock fell modestly last week after the recall was announced.

At least three lawsuits have been filed against ConAgra by people who say they became sick after eating the company’s peanut butter.

The company has not commented on the lawsuits except to say consumer safety is its top priority.

All of the jars of peanut butter involved have a product code on the lid beginning with “2111,” which denotes the plant. ConAgra said customers may return the lids or full jars of peanut butter to the store where they bought them for a refund.

Great Value peanut butter is a Wal-Mart store brand made by several manufacturers. Great Value peanut butter that does not have the “2111” code is not included in the recall.

Salmonella sickens about 40,000 people a year in the U.S. and kills about 600. It can cause diarrhea, fever, dehydration, abdominal pain and vomiting.

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