Gov't launches criminal probe in peanut recall
Pity that action was taken before 500+ people become ill, and some possibly died.WASHINGTON – The government has opened a criminal investigation into the Georgia peanut-processing plant at the center of the national salmonella outbreak, federal officials said Friday. Stephen Sundlof, head of the Food and Drug Administration's food safety center, said the Justice Department will join FDA investigators in looking into possible criminal violations. The Peanut Corp. of America plant shipped allegedly tainted products to dozens of other food companies.
"It is an open investigation at this time," said Sundlof. "We can't really talk much about the investigation itself."
More than 500 people have been sickened as a result of the outbreak, and at least eight may have died because of salmonella infections. More than 430 products have been pulled off the shelves in a recall that reaches to Canada and Europe.
In another development Friday, officials urged consumers to be cautious about "boutique" brands of peanut butter, which had not previously figured in the recall.
Although national brands of peanut butter are unaffected, some smaller companies may have received peanuts from the processing plant in Blakely, Ga., the FDA said.
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