Stewart Parnell is the former owner of Peanut Corporation of America, the company behind a salmonella outbreak that sickened hundreds and killed nine people in 2008 and 2009. Last year, a federal jury convicted him of knowingly shipping tainted peanut butter, and this week prosecutors in the case recommended he receive a life sentence for his crimes. [More]
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.
It was bound to happen, and it looks like it just did: Peanut Corporation of America has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and will liquidate its assets to pay off creditors.
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.
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.
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.
President Obama has had it up to here with poor FDA oversight, particularly of salmonella-infested peanut factories, and he’s called for a review of the underfunded organization, according to U.S. News & World Report.
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.”