We know there’s salmonella story fatigue setting in, but this new overview from yesterday’s Senate hearing is the best yet as far as piecing together exactly how salmonella-tainted peanut butter made it into our food supply for such a long period of time, and why it took so long to trace it back to a single rotten peanut plant in Georgia. Ultimately the blame lies with Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) for failing to maintain its factory and for not destroying lots that tested positive for salmonella, but both the FDA and the CDC had a role in it, too. One example: the FDA didn’t even know the plant produced peanut butter or peanut paste until 2007.
Food kits distributed by FEMA as part of a disaster relief effort in Kentucky and Arkansas may contain some of that awesome salmonella peanut butter we’ve been hearing so much about.
Peanut Corp. of America is now saying that its Georgia plant was regularly inspected by the FDA and given a “meets or exceeds” rating. This doesn’t excuse the company from its own failings, but we think it points out what President Obama recently noted, which is that the FDA inspection system doesn’t seem to work very well.
In yesterday’s Peanut Corp. post, our commenter microguy07828 left a detailed explanation of how food manufacturers sometimes play dirty when it comes to getting the lab results they want on a product. We though it deserved more visibility in light of yesterday’s accusation that the Peanut Corp. of America knowingly shipped tainted peanut butter. As microguy07828 puts it, it “happens more often than you would think.”
The Georgia peanut plant responsible for the salmonella outbreak that has sickened nearly 500 and killed at least 7 was repeatedly cited with health code violations for being “not properly cleaned and sanitized.”
The peanut butter recalls just keep on coming — as an outbreak of salmonella that has sickened 453 people and contributed to 5 deaths in 43 states continues.
Another peanut butter recall: Wal-Mart Bakery Brand Peanut Butter Cookies.
The FDA still hasn’t tracked down all that yummy salmonella-contaminated peanut butter, and until they do, they want consumers to stop eating all “commercially-prepared or manufactured peanut butter-containing products and institutionally-served peanut butter.” No, this doesn’t mean the jar of Skippy on your shelf, but it does seem to cover cookies, cakes, and ice cream; pretty much any shrink-wrapped peanut butter snack.
Can’t make it to your local prison, hospital, or school cafeteria to get in on this year’s peanut butter salmonella craze? Kellogg may have you covered at the nearest snack vending machine. The company has announced that it doesn’t want anyone eating its Keebler and Austin brand peanut butter crackers right now while it investigates whether they’re action packed with salmonella stowaways.
For those of you following along with the 3-month-long salmonella outbreak — the Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed that the strain of salmonella in the commercial peanut butter is the same as the one causing the outbreak.
For the past three months or so, the FDA and the CDC have been working to find the source of an outbreak of salmonella typhimurium that has sickened at least 400 people nationwide. Now the Minnesota Department of Health thinks they may have found the answer in a jar of institutional peanut butter not sold to the public.
As any convenience-seeking American knows, the bane of natural peanut butter is its tendency to separate into an unspreadable sludge of crushed peanut and an eager-to-spill pond of oil. You have to stir the two together to get back to the peanut butter texture you’ve come to expect from the hybridized brands. Skippy says they’ve solved the problem, but based on the two jars one customer bought, they’re plain nuts (wocka wocka!).
Pew! Pew! Grocery Shrink Ray zapped Skippy Natural Peanut Butter. You know what’s really going to be something? When they start raising the prices on all the products they shrunk. Then we’ll see some real purchasing power loss.