Apr 10, 2009 | 2
The company whose salmonella-tainted peanut products made 691 people sick and may have killed nine others has been fined $14.6 million.
The Texas Department of State Health Services yesterday fined Plainview Peanut Corp. — a plant owned by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), the company at the center of the salmonella outbreak — for what the agency described as unsanitary conditions and contamination of its goods, as well as illnesses and operating for nearly four years without a food manufacturer’s license from the state. State health inspectors in February discovered dead rodents, waste and bird feathers in a crawl space above the plant's production area. PCA filed for bankruptcy a day after the stomach-turning findings were announced.
Apr 9, 2009
Cases of food-borne illnesses, including infections such as salmonella and Escherichia coli that have been at the center of recent outbreaks, have held steady for the past four years, federal health officials said today.
Salmonella was the most common bacteria transmitted by contaminated food last year, according to today's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Rates of the infection, which has sickened 691 people and possibly killed nine in a recent outbreak via tainted peanut butter, have decreased the least of the nine illnesses that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documents in the report.
Mar 31, 2009 | 1
Oh nuts! Just when you thought it was safe to eat peanut butter again (the stuff in jars is fine but be wary of baked goods that contain it), the feds are warning consumers to avoid pistachios. The alert comes in the wake of a voluntary recall of around a million pounds of the little green nuts due to possible salmonella contamination.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the California Department of Public health are investigating the possibility that pistachios shipped on or after September 1 by Setton Pistachio of Terra Bella, Calif., were to blame for several reported cases of salmonella. The FDA said it's conducting genetic testing on samples from recalled batches to determine if salmonella strains in them match those in people sickened by the bacterial infection.
Mar 4, 2009 | 4
Coming on the heels of a sweeping salmonella scare, a bipartisan group of senators yesterday introduced legislation designed to give the feds the financial and regulatory muscle they need to protect the nation's food supply.
"Over the last year, we've seen major recalls of peanut butter spiked with salmonella, spinach laced with E. coli and chili loaded with botulism," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said during a press conference held to announce the move. "These are not isolated incidents and are the result of an outdated, underfunded and overwhelmed food safety system. [This] bipartisan bill will improve the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration's] ability to prevent food-borne illness outbreaks and ensure the FDA responds quickly and effectively when outbreaks do occur."
Feb 20, 2009
Kids with severe peanut allergies were able to eat the food after building up their tolerance with a daily dose of peanut flour, British doctors report today.
By the end of a small, six-month study of four boys, the children were able to eat up to five peanuts a day — not so many that they could safely sit down to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but enough that they didn’t need to worry about accidentally swallowing peanut ingredients hidden in other foods, according to research by Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge in the journal Allergy.
"You wouldn't want to say it's a cure because it's not that and gives people false hope," says Wesley Burks, a professor of pediatrics at Duke University on whose protocol the British study was modeled. But, "As long as you use the treatment, the disease is better."
Feb 13, 2009 | 5
The company responsible for the nation's salmonella outbreak that has sickened some 600 people and may have led to the deaths of eight others today declared bankruptcy. The move comes after the bacterial infection traced to Peanut Corporation of America's (PCA) Blakely, Ga., plant led to one of the biggest product recalls in U.S. history; some 1,800 products have been stripped from store shelves since last month, because they contained or may have contained contaminated peanut butter or peanut paste.
PCA filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia, claiming that the mass recall had an "extremely devastating" impact on its finances, according to Reuters. Under Chapter 7 companies liquidate their assets to repay creditors rather than reorganize.
Feb 2, 2009
Pres. Obama says he's ordering a “complete review” of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after state and federal inspectors failed to detect and crack down on a Georgia plant that knowingly sent out tainted peanut butter products that have sickened 529 people in 43 states and may have killed eight.
The oversight is only the most recent of “instances over the last several years” in which “the FDA has not been able to catch some of these things as quickly as I expect them to catch,” Obama told the Today Show this morning. “At bare minimum, we should be able to count on our government keeping our kids safe when they eat peanut butter.”
Jan 29, 2009 | 4
You wouldn’t think peanut butter could have such long-lasting, ill effects, but the company whose peanut products caused a nationwide outbreak of salmonella infections is now recalling everything it has manufactured at its contaminated Blakely, Ga., plant since January 1, 2007.
Peanut Corp. of America (PCA) announced the recall yesterday, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released documents showing that PCA in 2007 and 2008 knowingly sold products that it had tested and knew were tainted. The embattled manufacturer earlier this month pulled peanut butter and peanut paste (used in baked goods and candies) made at its Blakely plant after July 1 of last year, but has now expanded the recall to dry and oil roasted peanuts, granulated peanuts and peanut meal made there after January 1, 2007. The lots begin with number 7, 8 or 9 and were distributed to institutions, food service industries, and food companies around the country and in Canada, Haiti, Korea and Trinidad.
Jan 28, 2009 | 9
Federal regulators charge that the company responsible for salmonella-tainted peanut butter shipped products it knew were contaminated. The bacterial infection has sickened 501 people in 43 states since September and may be linked to eight deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) found that on 12 occasions in 2007 and 2008, Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) sent out peanut butter and peanut paste (ground roasted peanuts used in baked goods and candies sold in supermarkets) even though it knew there was salmonella in the ingredients or finished products, officials said yesterday during a press briefing (click on the Jan. 27, 2009 hyperlink for a PDF of the transcript).
Jan 15, 2009
In the wake of a nationwide salmonella outbreak, cereal maker Kellogg has halted sales of its popular Keebler and Austin brand peanut butter crackers as a "precautionary measure" and is urging consumers not to eat the popular snacks. The move comes on the heels of word that contaminated peanut butter, which has reportedly sickened more than 430 people in 43 states, may be linked to two more deaths (in Idaho and Minnesota), bringing the total fatalities to five. (Two deaths in Virginia and one in Minnesota were confirmed earlier this week.)
The cereal giant, based in Battle Creek, Mich., said that there were no reported problems with the snacks but that it was taking the action after one of its suppliers, Peanut Corp. of America, announced a nationwide recall of its peanut butter made in a Georgia plant.
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