Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) is expanding the scope of its peanut butter and peanut products recall. Their recall initially included products produced at its Blakely, Georgia plant since August 1, 2008. Now the recall is for all products produced at the Georgia plant since January 1, 2007. PCA is recalling two years worth of peanuts and peanut products. The number of recalled products has also expanded to include all peanuts (dry and oil roasted), granulated peanuts, peanut meal, peanut butter and peanut paste. Pet food is also included in this new expanded recall. Some of PCA’s peanut products are used in the manufacturing of pet food.
These additional recalls are all the result of a salmonella outbreak, that PCA KNEW about and did NOTHING to prevent. Over 500 people have fallen ill from salmonella caused by tainted PCA products. Eight people have died as a result. Salmonella is a very serious infection and it can be fatal. Even pet food infected with salmonella can be dangerous if people do not thoroughly wash their hands after handling pet treats. Pets can also suffer from salmonella infections caused by contaminated pet food.
The worst part about all of this is PCA knew about the risk of salmonella. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), PCA’s own tests found strains of salmonella 12 different times in 2007 and 2008 at their Georgia plant. PCA failed to properly respond to the discovery of salmonella. Instead PCA “lab shopped,” meaning it had the infected products re-tested at a different lab. The second test found the products were negative for salmonella and then the company shipped them out. PCA knew salmonella contaminated these products and yet they did nothing. Proper procedure dictates once salmonella is discovered, the entire lot is supposed to be destroyed, not shipped out for consumption. In addition, PCA never took any steps to clean their facility or other measure to prevent cross-contamination once they discovered the salmonella.
These problems have been ongoing at PCA and STILL were not rectified when the FDA inspected the Georgia plant in the month of January. According to the FDA testing, it found salmonella in peanut butter paste, peanut meal, peanut butter, peanut granules and oil-roasted, salted peanuts. But salmonella was not the only problems found at PCA’s plant. The FDA also found roaches near the production and packaging areas. PCA’s ventilation system was also inadequate to prevent salmonella contamination in other parts of the plant. PCA’s actions are deplorable. They knew about the salmonella contamination of their products but sent them to consumers anyway. Because of PCA, eight people have died and over 500 have gotten sick. These numbers will rise as more products get recalled. The FDA is still investigating PCA and more horror stories are likely to appear. Click here for more info.