Salmonella Litigation Status
May 5, 2009. By Ron Simon
more individuals across the United States have reported that they contracted
Salmonella Typhimurium from peanut
butter and peanut
products, namely from the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), Kellogg
Company, and Kanan Enterprises, Inc.
Overview of the Peanut Butter Outbreak
Officials at the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), and numerous state agencies have linked the source of
distinct strains of Salmonella Typhimurium that has poisoned hundreds of
people across the United States to peanut butter and peanut paste
manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) at its peanut processing
plants in Blakely, Georgia and Plainview, Texas. The peanut butter was sold
under the King Nut brand label (owned by Kanan Enterprises, Inc.) to nursing
homes, cafeterias, schools, and colleges where those most susceptible to
salmonella poisoning--children and the elderly--were likely to have consumed
the contaminated product.
Unfortunately, PCA's contaminated peanut butter and peanut paste were also
distributed to numerous companies for use as ingredients in many products
including cookies, crackers, cereal, candy, ice cream, and other foods. These
companies have now recalled over 2800 products which contained PCA peanut
butter and paste.
Austin and Keebler Crackers Cause Most Illnesses
Although over 2800 peanut-based products have been recalled, over 90 percent
of the known illnesses arose from the consumption of Austin and Keebler brand
peanut butter crackers, both of which are manufactured by Kellogg Company,
and used contaminated peanut paste manufactured by PCA.
PCA has $24 Million available to Pay Victims
As a result of the flood of claims against it, PCA declared bankruptcy and
shut down both its Blakely, Georgia and Plainview, Texas plants. At a recent
bankruptcy hearing in Lynchburg, Virginia, an examination revealed that PCA
has $24 million in liability insurance available from The Hartford Insurance
Company set aside to resolve salmonella food poisoning claims.
PCA's Texas Plant Fined for Unsanitary Conditions
On April 9, the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) assessed
$14.6 million in administrative penalties against PCA's Texas peanut plant
for violations of state food safety regulations. The violations included
unsanitary conditions, product contamination, illnesses linked to consumption
of peanuts from the plant and operating for almost four years without a food
manufacturer’s license from the state.
The Peanut Butter Salmonella Outbreak Sickens 714 people and kills 9
The CDC continues to work with state health officials and the FDA to monitor
the outbreak. Over 714 people infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella
Typhimurium have been reported from 46 states and Canada. Illnesses began on
September 1, 2008. Patients range in age from 1 year to 98 years old. Among
persons with available information, 24 percent reported being hospitalized.
Nine deaths have been reported.