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Salmonella Sickness Now Linked To Texas

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, February 24, 2009 10:46 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Salmonella, Foodborne Illness, Public Health, Peanut Corp. of America

Six sick in Texas from same genetic strain of salmonella.



IMAGE SOURCE: Wikipedia Commons, peanut butter 


Not only has Peanut Corp of America’s Georgia processing plant been found to be the source of salmonella sickness that has reached to 44 states and around the world, now six cases of salmonella are linked to the company’s Plainview, Texas facility.

The six cases of salmonella sickness have the same genetic fingerprint as those found emanating from the Blakely, Georgia plant. 

In these cases, six people consumed Vitamin Cottage Fresh-Ground Peanut Butter. The peanuts used by that natural food grocery store came from Peanut Corp’s Texas plant and were then ground at the store into peanut butter. Vitamin Cottage says in a statement, that it only used PCA peanuts up until January 30th.

Vitamin Cottage insists that its stringent cleaning process would not have introduced any bacteria into the peanut butter. 

Two sources of sickness from peanuts with the same genetic footprint indicate there is something in common that the processing plants share, says food safety expert Michael Osterholm to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

That could be a common peanut farm, or a shared processor. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will now need to expand the investigation to include the second plant as a possible source of salmonella bacteria. Previously the FDA had focused its efforts at the Blakely, Georgia plant.

The FDA reports that 44 states with 650 people have been stricken with salmonella. The product recall list spans nearly 3.000 products and the outbreak reaches outside of the U.S. borders as far as New Zealand to Slovenia, Spain, Singapore, Mexico, St. Maarten and many other countries.

The latest products to be recalled include ice cream, cereal, and dog treats.

The FDA had not inspected the Georgia plant for years, instead farming the responsibility to state inspectors who ignored early red flags of contaminated products coming from the plant.

The largest food recall in U.S. history has led to the Peanut Corp. filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The outbreak has declined modestly since December’s peak, but the cases continue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Greg Webb from IB- Charlottesville, Virginia reminds us that even when the FDA detects there is a problem with a processing plant, current rules require the wording of the recall statement to be approved by the corporation before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can publish it.

Some Democrats in Congress, however, are trying to get this changed by giving the agency more power to declare mandatory recalls without companies’ consent.  Many in Congress are calling for a food inspection division to be created separate and apart from the responsibilities of the FDA. #

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