Former Manager Says Peanut Plant Complaints Ignored

A manager at the Peanut Corp. of America's plant in Plainview, Texas, said he repeatedly complained to the company owner, Stewart Parnell, and the Texas Department of Health about unsanitary conditions at the plant.

Kenneth Kendrick said in an exclusive interview today with "Good Morning America" that when he worked at the Texas plant in 2006, he told Parnell about a rodent infestation and a leaky roof.

"Water, particularly anything leaking off a roof, and this is where things get a little disgusting, is there's bird feces washing in," Kendrick said on "GMA."

Peanut Corp. of America, the company at the center of a widespread salmonella outbreak, filed for bankruptcy Friday.

Parnell appeared in Washington Wednesday for a congressional hearing about the tainted peanut products, but he refused to answer lawmakers' questions, citing his Fifth Amendment rights.

Kendrick said Parnell would not provide money to fix problems and unsanitary conditions.

"The owner wouldn't give us the money to do what we needed to do. The funds were not there," Kendrick said.

Kendrick said the issue of sick customers never came up. "I don't know if he [Parnell] even thought about it," he said. "The concern for Mr. Parnell was the money issues."

Calls to Peanut Corp. of America for a response to Kendrick's claims were unreturned.

Kendrick also said he sent an e-mail to the Texas Department of Health but never received a response.

"I wasn't sure how to take that," he said. "I was just kind of taken aback."

Texas officials told ABC News they've searched through their database and found no record of any e-mails from Kendrick.

He eventually sought help from nonprofit group STOP. STOP, or Safe Tables Our Priority, is a small national health organization devoted to keeping Americans safe from tainted food and food-borne illness.

It was only after teaming up with STOP that Kendrick's grave claims were recognized, prompting an overdue call for action from officials.

Kendrick said he's speaking out now because his granddaughter became ill with salmonella-type symptoms for three weeks in December, a time when she only wanted to eat peanut butter crackers.

"So I kept giving her the crackers and she kept getting sicker," Kendrick said. "I've had a lot of sleepless nights over that, a lot of crying over that issue."

Kendrick said he's also speaking out after seeing the anguish of other families who have dealt with illnesses.

"I hope he [Parnell] never has to witness anyone in his family going through what my family and other families have," Kendrick said. "I wouldn't wish that even on Mr. Parnell."

Massive Food Recalls

Peanut Corp. of America's Friday bankruptcy filing came after the list of recalled peanut products grew even longer Thursday night, when the company announced it was recalling all products shipped from a second of its plants. Of three plants owned by the company, both its Blakely, Ga., and Plainview, Texas, facilities have found evidence of possible salmonella and unsanitary conditions.

The Plainview plant had a long list of customers that, at one point, did business with the facility, including big names, such as Abbott Laboratories, Frito-Lay, General Mills, Kellogg and Whole Foods. Some 1,900 products now grace the list of one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history.

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