Tests confirm salmonella at Texas peanut plant
Source of Article: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jeLgwCG-FEEYH8KZ7Tt45zOdSIKgD96IR2UG0
DALLAS (AP) — Tests show ground peanuts at a Texas plant were contaminated with the
same strain of salmonella that has sickened hundreds of people across the
nation, state health officials said Wednesday.
The peanut meal was tested at the Plainview
plant Feb. 12 after the facility had voluntarily shut down, said Doug
McBride, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Previously, private tests conducted by Virginia-based Peanut Corp. of America,
which operated the plant, had tentatively indicated that there may have been
salmonella at the plant. It is not yet known what strain those preliminary
private tests showed, he said.
plant is the second facility operated by the embattled Peanut Corp. to test
positive for salmonella. A different strain was found at the company's
The national outbreak has sickened more than 600 people and is suspected
of causing at least nine deaths, and led to one of the largest product
recalls in U.S.
history. Unable to recover from the fallout, the company has filed for
"The FDA's investigation is ongoing and the agency is looking at both
the PCA Blakely plant and the PCA Plainview plant as sources of contamination
for the outbreak," said U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman
Kwisnek said that since the salmonella findings
at the Blakely, Ga., plant, the FDA had
expanded the scope of inspections to include other plants, including the one
Texas health officials ordered a recall
on all peanut products from the Plainview
plant on Feb. 12 — the same day they took the peanut meal sample that tested
positive — after finding dead rodents, rodent excrement and bird feathers in
a crawl space above a production area.
It isn't clear if the batch of products tested sickened anyone, but on
Tuesday, federal officials said other test results confirmed peanut butter
made from peanuts processed at the Texas
plant also contained the same strain.
Health officials in Colorado
had traced salmonella cases there to peanut butter sold by the Vitamin
Cottage grocery chain. The natural foods chain has said that the peanuts used
in the Vitamin Cottage peanut butter came from PCA's
plant in Plainview.
Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into
allegations Peanut Corp. knowingly shipped tainted food. Peanut Corp. also
faces a growing number of federal lawsuits seeking millions of dollars of
damages from victims of the outbreak.
A message left Wednesday afternoon with Andy Goldstein, the Peanut Corp.'s
bankruptcy lawyer, was not immediately returned.
The FDA said that so far, more than 2,670 products have been recalled.
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