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Wayne Parsons
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Peanut Butter Salmonella Scandal Gets Worse: Plant shipped Salmonella-tainted product before receiving re-test results.

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Leading the way on the tainted peanut butter scandal, one young Atlanta personal injury attorney and a law student working with him are rising in national recognition as food safety consumer advocates. Law student Jessica Smagacz and attorney Brandon Smith have done the lion share of public education about this threat to public health and safety. They are a good reminder to the public and to elected officials about the role that personal injury attorneys play in society. Remember that this outbreak of salmonella was not prevented by the corporate practices of the manufacturer and was not controlled by the FDA. I have listed the articles that Jessica Smagacz wrote on the subject below. Every consumer will be shocked at lack of corporate concern for food safety and how weak the FDA was in doing what we all hope they are doing: protecting the public Health and safety. Reading their articles is a good place to get the entire story:

JESSICA SMAGACZ

New Georgia Food Safety division Desired in the wake of PCA & the Salmonella Outbreak

Consumers Questioning the True Safety of Products

Criminal Charges brought against Peanut Corporation of America

Roaches, Mold & Leaks Found PCA’s Georgia Facility

Peanut Corporation of America Found Salmonella & Sold Products Anyway

New Georgia Peanut Butter Lawsuit Filed Due To Salmonella Contamination

Peanut Butter Recall Craziness

Salmonella Contamination Confirmed at Peanut Corporation of America Georgia Facility

Salmonella Confirmed in Kellogg’s Crackers

Peanut Corporation of America Recalls Peanut Butter produced in its Georgia facility

Georgia Plant now the Focus of the Salmonella Outbreak Investigation

Updates on the Salmonella Outbreak with Ongoing Investigation

What Peanut Butter lovers Need to know about the Recent Salmonella Outbreak

Shifting the Blame? Peanut Corporation’s Press release Concerning the Salmonella Outbreak

The Culprit to the Salmonella Outbreak–Peanut Corporation of America and King Nut Peanut Butter?

The American Association of Justice also serves as a watchdog over consumer safety and is a good resource for information. I have also written on the subject but have heard of no reported cases of salmonella caused by peanut butter in Hawaii: Salmonella in Peanut Butter . Other commentators are attorney Oguz Ozdemir in New Your City, Peanut Butter Recall due to Salmonella Contamination and Steve Lombardi In Des Moines, Iowa, Food Safety: Peanut butter paste and poisoning. Michael Bryant in Minnesota has also written well on the subject: What The Heck Happened To Our Peanut Butter?

Now onto to current news reports on the subject.

The AP (2/7) reported, "A Georgia peanut plant knowingly shipped salmonella-laced products as far back as 2007, at times sending out tainted products after tests confirmed contamination, federal health officials said Friday." Though the FDA had originally reported that Peanut Corp. of America had "waited for a second test to clear peanut butter and peanuts that earlier had tested positive for salmonella," the agency amended that report Friday, adding that the plant "actually shipped some products before receiving the second test results and sold others after confirming salmonella."

Warning signs were evident early for "ambitious" Peanut Corp. of America. The AP (2/7, Bluestein, Brumback) reported, "From school lunches to nutrition bars and ice cream, the nationwide salmonella outbreak has reached deep into the American food supply — even though many people had never heard of the small company at the center of the investigation until a few weeks ago." Although PCA "has just a few plants scattered across the South…it may be responsible for one of the nation’s largest food recalls in history." The AP notes that going back as far as 2001, "about nine months after Parnell bought the Georgia plant in 2001, potential insecticide contamination and dead insects were found near peanuts inspected by the Food and Drug Administration." This was the beginning of a pattern of code violations, culminating in the inspection records released Friday by the FDA, showing that "in 2007 the company shipped chopped peanuts on July 18 and 24 after salmonella was confirmed by private lab tests."

The New York Times (2/9, A1, Moss), carrying the peanut story above the fold on its front page for the second time in three days, leads with a brief summary of the findings of the FDA’s findings: Among other revelations, the New York Times notes that plant employees, many of whom "earned only minimum wage and had gone years without a raise," said "they typically had advance knowledge of state inspections and that last month, when they were tipped off that federal investigators were coming, the employees were told not to answer questions." The Wall Street Journal (2/7, Zhang), the Los Angeles Times (2/7, Maugh, Engel) and Bloomberg News (2/9, Gaouette) also covered the story.

Kellogg added to salmonella suit. The National Law Journal (2/9, Bronstad) reports, "The law firm that filed the first lawsuit over the recent salmonella outbreak in certain brands of peanut butter products has added the Kellogg Co. as a defendant." The complaint "was filed last month on behalf of a Vermont couple, Gabrielle and Daryl Meunier, whose 7-year-old son became sick after eating peanut butter cracker sandwiches made by Kellogg from products of the Peanut Corp. of America, whose Georgia plant has been identified as the source of the contamination that led to the outbreak. Meunier v. Peanut Corp. of America, No. 1:09-cv-00012 (M.D. Ga.)."