Salmonella Count Now at 666
Published: Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
Source of Article: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/4813
The peanut salmonella outbreak linked to
ingredients made by a Peanut
Corp. of America (PCA) manufacturing facility in Blakely, Georgia
plant has now sickened more than 600 people. Meanwhile, health
officials have confirmed that salmonella found at a second PCA plant in Texas was also tied to
the nationwide salmonella outbreak.
According to the Centers for
Disease Control (CDC), tainted PCA products have sickened 666 people
across the country. Cases of salmonella poisoning - including 9 deaths
- related to the outbreak strain have been reported in 44 states and Canada.
The CDC also said that 19 clusters of
infections in five states have been reported in schools, long-term care
facilities and hospitals. King Nut brand peanut butter - which was made by
PCA - was present in all facilities.
King Nut brand peanut butter was among the first
products recalled last month because of salmonella contamination. But
because PCA makes peanut paste, peanut butter and other ingredients for 85
other firms, hundreds of other recalls soon followed. Those recalls now
At first, the salmonella outbreak was traced to PCA’s plant in Blakely,
resulting in its closure. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
inspections last month found that the company knowingly shipped products from
that plant that had tested positive for salmonella. Emails revealed at
a Congressional hearing showed that PCA owner Stewart Parnell had repeatedly
urged his employees to do so.
Earlier this month, Texas
health officials closed a PCA plant in Plainview
after finding horrible conditions there, including
dead rodents, rodent excrement and bird feathers in a crawl space
above a production area. Apparently, the
plant’s air handling system was pulling debris from the infested crawl space
into production areas.
As we reported at the time, this facility was not
licensed with health officials. Despite having been in operation since
2005, it also had not been inspected until the PCA plant in Georgia had
been implicated in the salmonella outbreak.
inspection also revealed salmonella contamination there, and the bacteria found at Plainview was
eventually tied to six cases of salmonella poisoning in Colorado. Now, the CDC has confirmed
that the Texas
salmonella strain is the same one implicated in the nationwide outbreak.
health officials ordered everything from the PCA Plainview plant recalled
last week. However, the health department was forced to issue the
recall action itself after PCA was slow to do so.
PCA is now the focus of a criminal probe being
conducted by the US
Justice Department. Earlier this month, the company filed for
chapter 7 bankruptcy. A statement from PCA’s
attorney blamed the fallout from the salmonella scandal for the filing.