Saturday, February 14, 2009

Tainted Peanuts in America: Recalled Products List Updated; Dead Rats

First, and important: Some, but not all, peanut products are tainted. Just (probably) the ones from Peanut Corporation of America.

The FDA updated its recall list earlier today:

"Peanut Butter and other Peanut Containing Products Recall List"
"Information current as of 12 PM February 14, 2009
2204 entries in list"

Repeating what I wrote the other day, "They're listed by category. What I do is use my browser's 'search' function to look for brands and products my family uses. Haven't found one yet. Good thing: since peanut butter is an affordable food for us."

'If You Liked Our Salmonella, You'll Love Our Rat Poop'

It looks like Mr. Parnell, the Peanut Corporation of America boss, forgot one of the cardinal rules of business: Don't poison the end user. I'd say "customers," but the Peanut Corporation sold to manufacturers of food, not directly to people who ate what came out of their factories.
Dead Rats, Rodent Poop, and Bird Feathers: All-Natural, But Not Appetizing
As much as I like organic food and all-natural products, I can't work up any enthusiasm for natural ingredients like rat excrement, bird feathers, and dead rats. Apparently, I'm not alone. A Peanut Corporation of America plant in Texas was closed, after inspectors found found that the ventilation system was recycling rats, poop, and bird feathers into PCA's food products.

All products from that plant are being recalled. Texas authorities aren't waiting to see if the stuff tests positive for salmonella. They've sent PCA's stuff to the labs, anyway: Results will probably be needed as evidence in the trials.

I know: Aside from a few lawsuits, there's no solid indication yet of legal action against Mr. Parnell, or his Peanut Corporation of America. But I'd say the odds are that there will be criminal charges. As I said before, Americans get cranky when their loved ones are killed with poison peanuts.

One more thing: It looks like Peanut Corporation of America is going out of business. No great surprise there.
More news:

"Peanut Corp. of America files for bankruptcy"
The Associated Press (February 13, 2009)

"ATLANTA (AP) — The peanut processing company at the heart of a national salmonella outbreak is going out of business. The Lynchburg, Va.-based Peanut Corp. of America filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Virginia Friday, the latest bad news for the company that has been accused of producing tainted peanut products that may have reached everyone from poor school children to disaster victims...."

I'm not all that surprised. It's sad, for the people who worked for Peanut Corporation of America. But, knowing Mr. Parnell's approach to quality control, and the typical American citizen's notorious touchiness about being poisoned, who in their right mind would buy anything from PCA?

"Dead rodents, excrement in peanut processor lead to recall"
U.S. News and World Report (February 12, 2009)

"(CNN) -- The Texas Department of State Health Services on Thursday ordered the recall of all products ever shipped from the Peanut Corporation of America's plant in Plainview, Texas, after discovering dead rodents, rodent excrement and bird feathers in the plant.

"The order, which applies to products shipped since the plant opened nearly four years ago, came a day after the discovery of filth in a crawl space above a production area during a health services inspection, Texas Health Department Press Officer Doug McBride told CNN in a telephone interview.

"The plant's ventilation system pulled debris 'from the infested crawl space into production areas of the plant resulting in the adulteration of exposed food products,' a health department news release said...."

Amazing. I suspect that there's going to be a trifle more interest in food and plant inspections after this. I just hope that America's leaders realize that it takes people on a payroll to get inspections done. And, that the idea is to get factories and food inspected: not just add another layer paper-pushers.

Earlier posts on this topic:

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