Lawmakers Examine Peanut Recall

"We need a system in the country that's going to work," Stupak told ABC News on Tuesday. "So when an American consumer goes to the grocery store and put that item on the table at night to feed their children, they know it's safe."

"Unfortunately, we go from disaster to disaster, if you will," Nancy Donley, president of food safety advocacy group, Safe Tables Our Priority, or STOP, told ABC News Tuesday. "I don't know how many it's going to take to finally get government to wake up and say, 'This is enough. Enough is enough already.'"

The Faces of the Salmonella Outbreak

In addition to families like the Almers who are angered by a relative's recent death, the faces of the salmonella outbreak include a plant worker suddenly unemployed and a small-town Georgia mayor hoping to bring jobs back into his community.

Blakely Mayor Ric Hall told ABC News Tuesday that food safety is based largely on trust that companies will do what they're supposed to. Hall said he was "shocked" that the company may have shipped out tainted products.

Hall said the closure of the town's Peanut Corporation of America plant, now the focus of a criminal investigation about food safety, has resulted in 50 job losses in addition to 100-plus recent layoffs at the town's largest employer.

"In a community of this size, with the limited number of jobs, to lose any of them, certainly is a blow," Hall told ABC News on Tuesday.

At the town's peanut plant, former workers were increasingly reluctant to talk. A woman who had been hired to clean the plant, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the facility was filthy.

Another employee, who also asked not to be identified, told ABC News that workers had no idea the company had a dozen positive salmonella tests but shipped out peanut butter and nuts anyway because "that information is not for the average employee to actually see."

"The people that work there, they work hard at their job," he said. "They did their job to the best of their ability. It's just a tragic situation that so many people sick, so many people dying."

That worker also said the plant "was not in that bad of a shape."

"It's not filthy, it's not nasty," he added. "How are you going to come to work somewhere that's nasty and then go home? You stay home. It wasn't like that."

Hall, too, said the plant was not unsanitary.

"I have been at the plant from time to time, and no, I didn't see rats running across the floor, and roaches clinging off the sacks, and leaky roofs with water pouring in," the mayor said. "I saw none of that. It appeared to be a normal manufacturing operation just like the other peanut processing plants we have here in this community."

Sources Tuesday said the FBI raided the Blakely, Ga., plant Monday looking for quality control records and other documents. Agents want to know who oversaw salmonella testing and who was responsible for shipping out tainted products. Investigators from the criminal division of the FDA were in Blakely as well.

Authorities this week also searched the company's home office in Virginia.

In Texas, officials said samples taken last week from the Peanut Corporation of America's plant in Plainview are 99 percent positive for salmonella. The tainted products did not make it to consumers. The FDA has now collected 50 additional samples for testing and is not ruling out another recall.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...