ConAgra updates status of Slim Jim operations

by Eric Schroeder
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OMAHA — ConAgra Foods, Inc. plans to resume limited production of Slim Jim meat snacks in August at its Garner, N.C., facility damaged in an explosion earlier this month. In the meantime, the company said it has shifted some production to other facilities, has increased orders at third-party manufacturers and has established interim agreements with other manufacturers, according to a June 18 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The June 9 explosion killed three workers and injured nearly 40 more.

"The company has continued to service Slim Jim product supply from existing inventory stocks, although at reduced levels," the company said. "Customer cooperation regarding short-term disruptions has been strong."

ConAgra said that while service disruptions are likely during the current fiscal quarter, the company expects to achieve acceptable service levels during the second quarter of fiscal 2010, which begins in September. The company also said the long-term financial impact of the accident should not be significant.

In the June 18 S.E.C. filing, ConAgra said a third-party contractor was installing a natural-gas-fired hot water system at the time of the explosion. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issued a determination on June 13 saying the explosion was the result of an accidental natural gas release, and not a deliberate act. ConAgra said it also was conducting an investigation in cooperation with federal and local agencies and independent experts.

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