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Texas Plant Blamed In Salmonella Outbreak Fined Record $14 Million

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, April 10, 2009 3:22 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Peanut Corporation of America, Salmonella, FDA, CDC, Food Borne Illness, Public Health

The Texas plant involved in the recent salmonella outbreak nationwide has received a  $14 million fine, the largest ever issued by that department. 

Salmonella Contaminated Peanut Plant Fined $14.6 Million

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IMAGE SOURCE;  iStockphoto/ peanut butter

 

The Plainview Peanut Corp LLC plant in Texas, one of two plants blamed for the national salmonella outbreak, is facing the largest fine ever levied, a record $14.6 million. 

The Texas Department of State Health Services fined the company for unsanitary conditions, product contamination, operating for almost four years with a license, and illnesses linked to peanuts from the plant. 

The ventilation system was bringing air from an infested crawl space into the plant where peanuts were processed. 

Spokesman Doug McBride says to AP, “We felt the assessment of the administrative fines needed to be done regardless of financial situations," he said, referring to bankruptcy filings by the plant's owner, Peanut Corp. of America. "If there is a violation, the penalties need to be assessed, period."

Closed since February 9, salmonella contamination was shown as likely by an independent lab. Peanut Corp. of America has since filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and will liquidate its assets. Its Georgia peanut processing plant in Blakely was identified as the initial source of the salmonella outbreak.

Nine have died so far and reports are still coming into the FDA and CDC.

The state of Georgia may pursue criminal charges against Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), whose products are linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak, reports CNN.

Outbreak Continues

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports the number of new cases of Salmonella Typhimurium linked to peanuts has substantially declined since the peak in December. However, illnesses are still being reported among those who have eaten the recalled brands of peanut butter crackers.  

Expect more cases to be reported over the next several months as consumers may not be aware that products on their pantry shelves were included in the recall. 

Check the list of items on the FDA’s online database to to verify the foods at home are not included in a nationwide recall.

So far 691 cases of salmonella sickness have been reported in 46 states. The most recent reported illnesses came in beginning February 24.  Jarred brands of national peanut butter are not included in the recall. 

The Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) has announced that because of its bankruptcy proceedings, it is no longer able to communicate with customers of recalled products.  

Consumers with complaints should contact their district consumer complaint coordinator. #


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