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Folgers' New Orleans plant back in full operation

CINCINNATI (AP) _ The Procter & Gamble Co.'s Folgers coffee plant in New Orleans has returned to full capacity, 11 weeks after being shut down by Hurricane Katrina.

The plant, which produces more than half of Folgers coffee, has slowly resumed operations since the hurricane, with P&G setting up a trailer village to provide employee housing at the site. Coffee supplies were disrupted, causing some shortages and some Folgers was shipped in metal cans.

Folgers said Friday it's notified retailers that supplies will be back to normal by early December.

P&G spokeswoman Jennifer Becker said the company didn't release production figures, but said that the New Orleans plant is the largest coffee production plant in the United States.

P&G said more than 400 of the company's 554 employees in New Orleans are back at work. The company said Folgers is strongly committed to New Orleans, where it has had a presence for more than 50 years.

Besides temporary housing, including dining facilities, P&G has provided other help including a $5,000 no-interest loan program to give employees cash in the hurricane's immediate aftermath.

The company also has an employee relief fund with more than $1 million, including P&G's matching contribution. The fund will give $650,000 in grants to employees, and $400,000 in grants to New Orleans organizations recommended by the employees.

P&G said it has also provided more than $10 million to disaster relief through the American Red Cross and America's Second Harvest.
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