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Business Chooses To Lose Money For Their Customers Safety

Reported: Jan. 17, 2014 10:24 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katy Brown) -- It's certainly been a hard week for businesses and restaurants in the area.

One of those business is Gunnoe's.The doors there remain closed with the customer's safety in mind.

"If you put your last name on a product, it better be right," said Joy Gunnoe, owner of Gunnoe’s.

And to protect Gunnoe's name -- and more importantly -- their quality of food, production of meats, salads, and cheese has been put on hold.

The company’s shutdown started on Tuesday after a miscommunication with West Virginia American Water Company.

After the Oakridge Road area of Charleston was cleared late Monday night and Gunnoe’s flushed, sterilized, and sanitized their warehouse -- and even started production again -- the water company said there was a mistake.

"I'm horrified that West Virginia American Water would give a food manufacturer an ok to go ahead,” said Gunnoe, “And go back into production when we were in fact still in the red."

More than 10,000 pounds of food was produced before the mistake was caught. Luckily, nothing had been delivered to customers and Gunnoe said it will be that way for a while.

"In these circumstances, nobody seems to have any guidance or guidelines or anything to help.”

And because of that lack of guidance, Gunnoe said anything produced from last Thursday, the day of the spill, and after will not be sent to customers.

And when it comes to the trust in the water company, Gunnoe said it’s gone. She has now reached out for independent testing of not only her water, but the food at Gunnoe's as well.

"I felt too uneasy,” said Gunnoe, “This is a time that uneasy feeling paid off."

On Friday, on set of results came back showing about half of 1 part per million was still in the water.

Although that is below the "safe to use" standard, Gunnoe said she refuses to restart production until those levels read zero.

So while the doors at Gunnoe's remain shut and the delivery trucks stay in park, Gunnoe just hope this serves as a wake up call for food manufacturers across the nation.

"I've got a big responsibility as a food manufacturer,” said Gunnoe, “You've got to protect your consumer."

Gunnoe did want to stress that not all food is being made here in Charleston.

Some of the sausage is produced in Virginia at their sister site where the water is just fine. Only food production in Charleston has been put on hold.



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