Digital News Report- The peanut processing plant that has been linked to the recent salmonella outbreak has been inspected by the state agriculture department and cited on numerous health violations. The plant, owned by Peanut Corporation of America of Lynchburg, Virginia has since been shut down. Almost 500 people have fallen ill due to the outbreak and at least seven people have died as a result.
The plant, located in Blakely, Georgia, was found to have areas of rust near the food, gaps in warehouse doors large enough for rodents to get through, and unmarked containers, among other violations. From January 2006 through December 2007 the Georgia Department of Agriculture cited the company 27 violations, but inspectors did not deem them significant.
“No real serious violations that we discovered and they were corrected on site before our inspector left the premise,” said Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin.
A lawsuit has been filed against the Peanut Corporation of America in the U.S. District Court in Georgia on behalf of a Vermont family whose seven-year-old son fell ill after eating Keebler Cheese & Peanut Butter Sandwich crackers. Another lawsuit is planned on behalf of a 72-year-old woman who died after consuming contaminated peanut butter.
Stewart Parnell, president of PCA, said in a statement, “We deeply regret that this product recall has expanded, and our first priority is to protect the health of our customers.”
The Peanut Corporation of America more than 70 consignee firms with their products. Starbuck’s is the most recent company to recall products after the outbreak and Trader Joe’s has expanded its list of potentially dangerous snacks. Other companies that have voluntarily recalled products include Kellog’s, ShopRite, Whole Foods, Jewel-Osco, and Arbonne International Llc among others.