The Georgia peanut plant linked to a salmonella outbreak that has killed eight people and sickened 500 more across the country knowingly shipped out contaminated peanut butter 12 times in the past two years, federal officials said yesterday.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reports that at least 10 Idahoans have fallen ill after eating peanut butter products. At least one death in Idaho may be the result of eating contaminated food.
This case illustrates the continued failure of the regulatory process in this country. The Washington Post report details some of these failures. We also see the weak and ineffective sanctions that are imposed against corporate criminals.
Based on the Washington Post report, it appears that the Peanut Corporation of America has deliberately distributed a product that it knew to be contaminated with salmonella. Such distribution was made with reckless disregard for the health and welfare of consumers. This is not a simple case of negligence; it is murder.
It now appears that the Peanut Corporation of America was initially lying about retesting of contaminated products. According to the FDA:
"In some situations the firm received a positive salmonella test result, followed by a later negative result, and then shipped the products," said the FDA report, which was included in an e-mail to CNN. "In some other situations, the firm shipped the products [which had already tested positive] before it had received the [second] positive test results." Watch Senate hearing on food safety amid peanut recall »