News sources quickly picked up on the implications of Tuesday’s revelation that the Peanut Corporation Of America had been knowingly shipping tainted peanut butter since the beginning of 2007. NBC Nightly News (1/28, story 4, 2:10, Williams) reported early in its broadcast that the tainted peanut butter “problem goes back further and is much larger than originally thought.” NBC’s Robert Bazell reported, “this could end up being one of the largest food recalls in US history with ten times or more the current number of products involved.” FDA officials “say the recall could involve thousands of foods, including candies, ice creams, cookies, energy bars, peanut butter cracker sandwiches, and large vats of peanut butter used in institutions such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes…as well as roasted peanuts and peanut meal.” Bazell concludes his report saying that this outbreak “is definitely going to become exhibit A in the argument about how our food safety system is broken.”
The AP (1/29) reports, “The salmonella outbreak spawned one of the largest ever product recalls Wednesday by a Georgia peanut plant where federal inspectors reported finding roaches, mold, a leaking roof and other sanitary problems. Managers at the Blakely, Ga. plant owned by Peanut Corp. of America continued shipping peanut products even after they were found to contain salmonella.” Stephen Sundlof, head of the FDA’s food safety center said he was “confident’ that “that it’s one of the largest recalls we’ve had.”
The New York Times (1/29, A15, Harris) reports, “One of the largest food contamination scares in the nation’s history grew far larger on Wednesday as a Georgia peanut plant that federal regulators said knowingly shipped contaminated food recalled even more products.” On Wednesday, the Peanut Corporation of America “expanded its recall from all products made since July to all those made since Jan. 1, 2007. The company supplied some of the largest food makers in the nation.” The FDA’s Dr. Stephen Sundlof said, “We don’t have a good idea of how much of that product is still out there.” The Minneapolis Star Tribune (1/29) and the ABC News (1/28) website also cover the story.
From the American Association for Justice news release.