Salmonella Outbreak: PCA Recall Expands to Include Peanut Products Made Since Jan. 2007

The peanut butter maker at the center of a nationwide <"">salmonella outbreak is recalling all peanuts and peanut products made at its Georgia factory since January 2007.  Peanut Corp. of America (PCA) announced the recall just a day after federal officials investigating the outbreak said that the company knowingly shipped tainted peanut butter and other products made at the Blakely, Georgia facility.

A multi-state salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 500 people – possibly killing 8 – has been linked to peanut butter and other products  made at the PCA Georgia plant.  PCA makes peanut butter and peanut paste for 85 companies.  As a result of the outbreak, scores of firms that use PCA products, including General Mills and the Kellogg Company, have been forced to issue recalls.

On Tuesday, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced that its inspection of the PCA Georgia plant had uncovered records of 12 instances in 2007 and 2008 in which plant officials identified salmonella in ingredients or finished products.  The products were shipped anyway, in violation of safety regulations.  PCA also took no steps to correct the conditions that led to the salmonella contamination, the FDA said.

Earlier this month, PCA issued a recall of peanut paste and peanut butter made at the plant since July 1, 2008.  But in light of the FDA’s findings, the cut-off date for the recall has been pushed back to January 1, 2007.

According to PCA, the recalled peanuts and peanut products were distributed nationwide to institutions, food service industries, and private label food companies in the U.S., as well as and in Canada, Haiti, Korea and Trinidad.  The products being recalled include:

  • Peanut Butter All Styles All Sizes All Lots beginning with 7, 8, or 9
  • Peanut Paste All Styles All Sizes All Lots beginning with 7,8, or 9
  • Peanut Meal All Styles All Sizes All lots beginning with 7, 8, or 9
  • Peanut Granules All Styles All Sizes All lots beginning with 7, 8 or 9
  • Peanuts All Styles All Sizes All lots beginning with 7, 8 or 9

This would not be the first time tainted peanut butter has been implicated in a salmonella outbreak.  In February 2007, another salmonella outbreak prompted a recall of ConAgra’s Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butters. Those tainted peanut butters were  ultimately blamed for  600 cases of salmonella poisoning across the country. ConAgra faulted a leaky roof and malfunctioning sprinkler system at its production facility for causing the salmonella contamination. The plant in Sylvester, Georgia was closed due to the recall, but reopened later that summer.

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