"They're not held to any standards," Donley said. "They're, basically, just on their own and just doing willy-nilly what they want to do, so that's a problem there."
Blakely Mayor Ric Hall said food safety is based largely on trust that companies will do what they're supposed to do. Hall said he was "shocked" that the company may have shipped out tainted products.
Meantime, lawmakers in Washington and families nationwide are eager for answers.
"You can't have any other feeling but being angry because it shouldn't have happened," Ginger Lorentz recently told ABC Minneapolis affiliate KSTP.
Lorentz' mother Shirley Mae Almer, 72, of Perham, Minn., died just before Christmas after falling ill from salmonella in a Minnesota nursing home. Her family has since filed a lawsuit against the Peanut Corporation of America.
"She died because every morning she liked to have toast with peanut butter," Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said last week at a Senate hearing.
FDA food safety director Stephen Sundlof, in prepared testimony, told lawmakers for the Senate panel that the agency "is working hard to ensure the safety of food, in collaboration with its federal, state, local, and international food safety partners, and with industry, consumers, and academia. Although the salmonella typhimurium food borne illness outbreak underscores the challenges we face, the American food supply continues to be among the safest in the world. Food safety is a priority for the new administration."
"Consumers just need to be, frankly, yelling and screaming, to say, 'Hey, make it safer," Donley said. "It shouldn't be up to us to have to find it and monitor our kitchens and cupboards and pantries and freezers to make sure that we're not harboring some sort of unsafe food."
ABC News' Brian Hartman and Matt Hosford contributed to this story.