The AP (2/11) reports that Peanut Corporation of America, “the company at the center of an investigation into a deadly national salmonella outbreak has suspended operations at a second peanut processing plant.” Another AP (2/11, Brumback) article reports, “Private lab tests show there may have been salmonella at a second plant operated by the peanut company…but the potentially tainted products were not sent to consumers, Texas health officials said Tuesday.” The PCA plant in Plainview, Texas, “had operated unlicensed and uninspected for nearly four years, heightening food safety concerns already swirling around the company.” Mike Rogers, head of FDA’s field investigations, said “FDA inspectors are back at the Texas plant following the private lab results Monday.” The Washington Post (2/11, A2, Layton) and Bloomberg News (2/11, Larkin) also cover the story.
Plainville PCA employee tells NYTimes “This was a disgusting plant.” The New York Times (2/11, A13, Harris) reports, “Former workers at the Texas plant said in interviews with The New York Times that the facility was ‘disgusting’ and shared many of the problems found in the plant in Georgia. But state and federal health officials said they did not have enough evidence to close the Texas plant.”
FDA did not increase testing of peanut butter after 2007 salmonella outbreak. In another major development, the Wall Street Journal (2/11, Zhang) reports in its online edition, ” Even after a major 2007 salmonella outbreak sickened more than 600 and cleared store shelves of peanut butter jars, the Food and Drug Administration didn’t increase salmonella testing at another peanut processing facility that is now the epicenter of the latest salmonella outbreak, according to a document prepared for a congressional committee.” According to a report prepared by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, “At no point prior to January 2009 did FDA request or direct salmonella testing at the Blakely facility.” Although the FDA couldn’t be reached for comment, a spokeswoman said earlier that they weren’t “increasing inspections, at this time, at other peanut processing facilities other than PCA.”
From the American Association for Justice news release.