Our sister blog at ConsumerReports.org notes that “current salmonella outbreak caused by tainted peanuts could drag on for as long as two years,” according to the FDA. The Peanut Corp of America may be history, but because peanut butter has such a long shelf life, and because they’re still adding products to the recall list, there may be food items lurking in pantries across the U.S. that are loaded with disease-causing peanuty badness.
Here’s a handy widget, courtesy of the FDA, that you can use to determine whether or not your Valentine’s Day goodies are a trap set by an angry lover.
On Thursday, Texas ordered the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) to recall all products shipped from its plant in Plainview, Texas. The order came after Texas Department of State Health Services discovered dead rats, rat droppings, and bird feathers in a crawl space that was connected to the plant’s ventilation system.
The House Commerce Committee is currently holding a hearing on the salmonella-tainted peanut butter. Included on the witness list are the families of several people who were killed or sickened by the peanut butter, as well as the president and plant manager of the Peanut Corporation of America. It’s really compelling testimony, and we’re sure the grilling of the PCA people will be intense. You can watch it online at C-SPAN or the committee’s website. (Photo: goaliej54 and greefus groinks)
Fears of salmonella have drive down sales of peanut butter 25%, far beyond the actual amount of peanut butter affected by the recall. Guess few people actually read the recall notices to see which products and batch numbers are pulled, they just see Peanuts + Butter = Death. [NYT] (Photo: amyadoyzie)
A More Helpful Big Brother: Grocery Store Loyalty Programs Used To Notify Customers Of Salmonella Recall
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.