Kellogg Faces Lawsuit Over Salmonella-Tainted Peanut Snack

A federal lawsuit has been filed against the Kellogg Corporation over peanut butter snacks sold by Kellogg that could have been potentially contaminated with <"">Salmonella, a dangerous, sometimes deadly, food borne pathogen, said the Palm Beach Post.

Kellogg’s Austin and Keebler brand crackers were among a large variety of foods that contained peanut butter paste that was manufactured by Peanut Corp. of America (PSC), according to the lawsuit that was filed in federal court in Fort Myers, said the Palm Beach Post.

The PCA Salmonella scandal affected peanut products distributed across the country, sickened thousands, impacted most of the states and Canada, and resulted in a number of deaths. At last count, half of those infected were under age 16, while more than one in four cases was under the age of five. Most of the reported illnesses were linked to two brands of peanut butter crackers: Kellogg’s Austin and Keebler brand peanut butter crackers. The list of recalled foods made with PCA products topped 3,500. According to the Palm Beach Post, some 22,500 people were sickened in the historic outbreak last year that was also linked to nine fatalities.

Oversight of the PCA Georgia plant at the center of the outbreak was considered lax, at best, with the plant having been inspected by the state health department on 184 occasions since 2006, but with 114 of those inspections lasting under two hours. Not surprisingly, none of these inspections found evidence of the mold, cockroaches, and Salmonella contamination that was uncovered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when it investigated the plant in January.

As we’ve previously reported, a second PCA plant in Texas, which was closed because of deplorable conditions last year, had never been properly licensed. Yet, a state inspector who visited the plant on three occasions since 2005 actually indicated in his reports that the facility was licensed correctly.

The Palm Beach Post noted that peanut products from PCA’s Blakely, Georgia plant were found to be contaminated with Salmonella; the lawsuit claims that Kellogg did not warn consumers that its snack products were potentially contaminated with the dangerous pathogen.

According to the lawsuit, Kellogg’s purchased PCA products as far back as 2007, the suit seeks compensation for consumers who purchased the product as well as changes in how Kellogg’s conducts its business, and is also working toward class-action status, said the Palm Beach Post.

According to a statement issued by Kellogg spokeswoman Kris Charles this week, “Last year, Kellogg Co. recalled select products as soon as we learned about tainted peanut ingredient lots produced by Peanut Corp. of America…. Kellogg Co. handled consumer inquiries related to this recall thoroughly and responsibly,” quoted the Palm Beach Post.

In addition to the Austin and Keebler brand products recalled, said the Palm Beach Post, Kellogg also recalled snack pack sizes of Famous Amos and Keebler peanut butter cookies. Salmonella poisonings, linked to Kellogg’s Austin brand products were reported in California, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Florida, according to the lawsuit, reported the Palm Beach Post.

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