Welcome! We regret to inform you that the Injury Board National News Desk has been discontinued. Feel free to browse around and enjoy our previously published articles, or visit The Injury Blog Network for the latest in personal injury news.

State Inspections Found Violations At Peanut Plant

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 10:51 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Food Inspections, Salmonella, Peanuts, Foodborne Illness

Inspections of the peanut plant in Blakely Georgia found violations. The state does the inspections for the FDA.

LEARN MORE

 

IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ peanut butter on toast/ author: D O’neil 

 

Inspection reports from the Blakely, Georgia peanut plant that is the source of a nationwide salmonella outbreak, show it was cited repeatedly for dirty surfaces and health concerns.

The New York Times obtained Georgia Agriculture Department inspection reports and found:

* Areas of rust near food that could flake into vats

* Gaps in warehouse doors large enough for a rodent to pass through

* Unmarked spray bottles near food

* An earlier inspection found salmonella in floor cracks near a wash room and near food pallets

*  CNN reports that mildew was found on a ceiling last year during an inspection

*  The food contact surfaces were not properly cleaned and sanitized

*  The transfer belt moving roasted peanuts was not properly sanitized

*  Peanut butter buckets were left opened and uncovered

None of the violations tested positive for salmonella.

The plant is owned by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) of Lynchburg, Virginia. It has been shut down and 50 workers there are laid off. 

PCA tells CNN the problems are, “relatively minor and for the most part corrected on site.”

The state of Georgia inspects the plant on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration as part of a contract with the federal agency.

Consumers are advised not to eat peanut products that have been recalled and throw them away products after the Blakely plant launched a nationwide recall of peanut butter and peanut paste made there after July 1, 2008. The case count is now up to 501 people sickened with salmonella in 43 states.  The last reported illness began on January 8th.  

The CDC reports that although there is a two to three week lag in reporting, the outbreak appears to have reached a peak in December and is now in decline.

The American Peanut Council, a trade group, wants to remind consumers on its Web site that many peanut products are not affected by the peanut product recall and it provides a list.

To check on the latest products included in the recall visit the FDA’s site of products.

The head of the Food and Drug Administration is yet to be appointed by President Obama but will need to deal with the growing complexity of food inspections.

Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, and reported to be on the short list to become FDA head - said food inspection is swamped by the FDA's other responsibilities: the approval of medications and medical devices.

Nissen is a physician and activist who doesn’t mind going up against drug companies and flawed medications. He led the debate of Vioxx, and helped reveal the drug could cause heart attacks, which eventually led to the drug’s recall.

Howard Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chief is said to be another candidate in consideration as is Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, the Baltimore Health Commissioner who raised awareness about the dangers of children’s over-the-counter cold medications. 

Meanwhile, Frank Torti, an academic cancer researcher, is acting FDA Commissioner. #


3 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by nrd620
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 3:39 PM EST

"None of the violations tested positive for salmonella." Quoting the above......

If you read through the violations...sounds very similar to findings in health inspections in restaurants. Various violations....but salmonella not present.

Is there any way to find out if any of the people infected with the salmonella poisoning are allergic to peanuts? People with peanut allergies already know which food products to stay away from.

If there are people coming down with the salmonella poisoning who have peanut allergies...you have to wonder if the salmonella is truely from peanuts!!

This is a logical question to ask.

Jane Akre Injury Board Community Member
Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 4:35 PM EST

Just to clarify- the violations found at the plant in past years did not have a salmonella link. However, recently they found salmonella in a floor crack near the wash room and near where the food is packed.

In addition- the salmonella found in jars in Conn. and Minn. match the strain at the plant, in various foods, and is the type that is linked to some deaths.

So these old violations are an indication of cleanliness. We are definitely talking salmonella here- not just a food allergy, which would generate a different type of reaction. Thanks!

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 1:39 PM EST

NYT reports today that in 2007-2008, inspections by the company, "identified some type of salmonella and released a product after it was retested, in some cases by a different laboratory."

see NYT- reporter Gardiner Harris

Comments for this article are closed.

About the National News Desk

Our mission is to seek the complete truth and provide a full and fair account of the events and issues that surround personal safety, accident prevention, and injury recovery.  We are committed to serving the public with honesty and integrity in these efforts.

Hurt in an accident? Contact an Injury Board member

Subscribe to Blog Updates

Enter your email address if you would like to receive email notifications when comments are made on this post.

Email address

Subscribe

RSS Feed

Add the National News Desk to your favorite RSS reader

Add to Google Reader Add to myYahoo Add to myMSN Add to Bloglines Add to Newsgator Add to Netvibes Add to Pageflakes