News Column

Salmonella Peanut Butter Recall: Batch Shipped Before Lab Results; Co. Failed to 'Destroy' Shipment

Feb. 11, 2009


peanut butter, FDA recall, salmonella recall

In the latest fallout from the salmonella-spawned peanut butter recall scandal that has rattled the country, the manufacturer at the center of the controversy shipped potentially tainted products before getting test results from the lab, according to documents (PDF download) released Wednesday by the House Energy and Commerce investigations Subcommittee.

When told by a lab official that sample had tested positive for salmonella, a plant manager at the Peanut Corporation of America responded "uh-oh" and then said he "it was on a truck headed to Utah," according to publicly available documents. When the lab official asked if the plant could get the peanut butter back, the plant manager responded that he would have it "destroyed" somewhere out west, rather than recall the product.

But apparently that never happened.

Eight people have died and more than 500 others have fallen ill after the Blakely, Ga. company shipped tainted peanut products to schools and grocery stores all across the nation. The contaminated ingredients are used in crackers and cookies and other products.

The documents also show that an owner of the Peanut Corporation indicated that the company was going to switch labs because one lab was too frequently testing positive for contamination.

"Because of high coliform results, they were going to send samples to a different lab for awhile," the documents state.

The documents released Wednesday would seem to deliver a further blow to plagued company, which is now under FBI investigation over the matter. Two of its plants have been shut down in one of the largest food recall scandals to ever hit the country.

Source: (c) 2009. All rights reserved.

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