Peanut butter warning

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  • #26
Astronuc
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Gov't launches criminal probe in peanut recall
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090130/ap_on_go_ot/salmonella_outbreak [Broken]

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.

. . . .
:rolleyes: Pity that action was taken before 500+ people become ill, and some possibly died.
 
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  • #27
Astronuc
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Firm tied to salmonella ran unlicensed Texas plant
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090203/ap_on_go_ot/salmonella_outbreak [Broken]

WASHINGTON – A peanut processing plant in Texas run by the same company blamed for a national salmonella outbreak operated for years uninspected and unlicensed by government health officials, The Associated Press has learned. The Peanut Corp. of America plant in Plainview was never inspected until after the company fell under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, according to Texas health records obtained by AP.

Once inspectors learned about the Texas plant, they found no sign of salmonella there. But new details about that plant — including how it could have operated unlicensed for nearly four years — raised questions about the adequacy of government efforts to keep the nation's food supply safe. Texas is among states where the FDA relies on state inspectors to oversee food safety.

The problem is "not a completely uncommon occurrence," said Cornell University food science professor Joseph Hotchkiss.

The salmonella outbreak was traced to the company's sister plant in Blakely, Ga., where inspectors found roaches, mold, a leaking roof and internal records of more than a dozen positive tests for salmonella.

The outbreak so far has resulted in more than 500 reported illnesses, led to an expansive recall and caused as many as eight deaths. The government is working on a criminal investigation in the case.

In Texas, inspector Patrick Moore of the Department of State Health Services was sent to Plainview, in the sparsely populated Texas Panhandle, after salmonella was traced to the company's plant in Georgia. Moore said the Texas plant wasn't licensed with health officials and had never been inspected since it opened in March 2005. Texas requires food manufacturers to be licensed every two years and routinely inspected.

"I was not aware this plant was in operation and did not know (what) type of products processed," Moore wrote in an inspection report obtained by AP.

The plant is registered with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to do business as Plainview Peanut Co. LLC, according to state records. But the company "was unable to present evidence at the time of the inspection of a current food manufacturers license," Moore wrote in his report.

The plant was properly registered with the FDA as a food processing plant, said David Glasgow, director of the agency's investigations branch in Dallas.

Margaret Glavin, a retired senior FDA official, said those registrations don't help much. She said food producers are required to register under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, but there is no reliable database that is regularly updated to aid food inspectors. Some companies are listed multiple times, and others remain on the government's list even after they go out of business.

"The database is terrible," said Glavin, who recently stepped down as associate commissioner for FDA's regulator affairs.

. . . .
So much for upholding the law.

A local child was found to have salmonella traced back to the Ga plant. He ate peanut butter crackers at school.
 
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  • #28
wolram
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This is all very strange, were i work every new customer (large retail chain) doe's an inspection of the factory, often taking two or three days, they go through paper work, inspect plant and procedures, often times each new customer brings up a few things they are not happy with, they all all have to be addressed before they will do business with us, that is just the start, we expect follow up vists, have people just been buying from this place (blind) if they have then they are responsible too.
 
  • #29
Astronuc
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Peanut Co. owner urged shipping tainted products
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090211/ap_on_bi_ge/salmonella_outbreak [Broken]
WASHINGTON – The owner of a peanut company urged his workers to ship tainted products after receiving test results identifying salmonella, according to internal company e-mails disclosed Wednesday by a House committee.

The company e-mails obtained by the House panel showed that Peanut Corp. of America owner Stewart Parnell ordered the shipments tainted with the bacteria because he was worried about lost sales.

Parnell was ordered by subpoena to appear before Congress on Wednesday to discuss the outbreak that has led to 600 illnesses, eight deaths and one of the largest recalls in history, more than 1,800 products pulled. His Georgia plant is blamed for the outbreak.

Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., revealed the internal correspondence from the company during a House Energy and Commerce hearing.

In prepared testimony, a laboratory owner told the House panel that the peanut company's disregard for tests identifying salmonella in its product is "virtually unheard of" in the nation's food industry and should prompt efforts to increase federal oversight of product safety.

Charles Deibel, president of Deibel Laboratories Inc., said his company was among those that tested Peanut Corp. of America's products and notified the Georgia plant that salmonella was found in some of its peanut stock. Peanut Corp. sold the products anyway, according to a Food and Drug Administration inspection report.

"It is not unusual for Deibel Labs or other food testing laboratories to find that samples clients submit do test positive for salmonella and other pathogens, nor is it unusual that clients request that samples be retested," Deibel said in prepared testimony to a House subcommittee. "What is virtually unheard of is for an entity to disregard those results and place potentially contaminated products into the stream of commerce."

. . . .
 
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  • #30
turbo
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I doubt it, they might prosecute some lab tech whose job it was to test batches - but no CEO is going to be dumb enough to send a memo giving these instructions.
This one was. See previous post.

He needs to see serious prison time in a real prison, along with underlings who committed these clearly illegal acts. He gave the orders, but he didn't do all the damage alone.
 
  • #31
turbo
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The owner and the plant manager both refused to testify to Congress today. This news article gives more detail regarding the content of their internal emails than has previously been disclosed. Clearly, their actions were criminal.

The House panel released e-mails obtained by its investigators showing Parnell ordered products identified with salmonella shipped and quoting his complaints that tests discovering the contaminated food were "costing us huge $$$$$$."
At one point, Parnell said his workers "desperately at least need to turn the raw peanuts on our floor into money." In another exchange, he told his plant manager to "turn them loose" after products once deemed contaminated were cleared in a second test.
Parnell's response to a final lab test showing salmonella was about how much it would cost, and the impact lab testing was having on moving his products.
"We need to discuss this," he wrote in an Oct. 6 e-mail to Sammy Lightsey, his plant manager. "The time lapse, beside the cost is costing us huge $$$$$$ and causing obviously a huge lapse in time from the time we pick up peanuts until the time we can invoice."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090211/ap_on_go_co/salmonella_outbreak;_ylt=AmBGh7A95VEvW062Li7wAg.s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTFoOW9uOXBsBHBvcwMxNgRzZWMDYWNjb3JkaW9uX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNwZWFudXRjb21wYW4- [Broken]
 
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  • #32
Astronuc
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Peanut Corp. of America files for bankruptcy :rolleyes:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090213/ap_on_bi_ge/salmonella_outbreak_bankruptcy [Broken]

ATLANTA – The peanut processing company at the heart of a national salmonella outbreak has filed for bankruptcy.

The Virginia-based Peanut Corp. of America filed Friday for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in bankruptcy court in Lynchburg, Va. The company's attorney, Andrew Goldstein, says the filing was "regrettable" but inevitable.

The company said in the filing that its debt and assets both ranged between $1 million and $10 million.

The salmonella outbreak was traced to one of the company's plants in Blakely, Ga., where inspectors found roaches, mold and a leaking roof. A second plant in Texas was shuttered this week. The outbreak has resulted in more than 500 illnesses, led to one of the nation's biggest recalls and may have caused as many as nine deaths.

. . . .
I guess they can't afford to keep the place clean.
 
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  • #33
turbo
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The Texas plant had dead rodents, rodent excrement, and bird feathers in a filthy crawl space, and the plant's ventilation system was pulling air out of that space and exhausting it into the production area. Way to go, guys!

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/02/12/peanut.butter.recall/
 

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