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FDA inspectors found many problems at Georgia peanut plant

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United States
01/27/2009 10:26 PM
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FDA inspectors found many problems at Georgia peanut plant
Federal officials say an often-cited Georgia plant sold products tainted with salmonella.

By DAVID SHAFFER, Star Tribune
Last update: January 27, 2009

The Georgia peanut butter plant linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak had deficient cleaning programs and sometimes shipped products that initially tested positive for the bacteria, the federal official in charge of the investigation said Tuesday.

Michael Rogers, director of regional investigations for the Food and Drug Administration, said government tests at the processing plant in Blakely, Ga., also found salmonella present on surfaces in the plant. It has been closed during the investigation, which began Jan. 9.

He described conditions at the plant owned by Peanut Corp. of America of Lynchburg, Va., as a significant deviation from good manufacturing practice and said they "had an adverse affect on the quality of that product, making it adulterated."


Rogers said the team of federal and state investigators "identified approximately 12 instances in 2007 and 2008 where the firm as part of their own internal testing program identified some type of salmonella and released a product after it was retested in some cases by a different laboratory."


The FDA offered a far harsher verdict on the Blakely plant than the Georgia Department of Agriculture had during recent inspections. The agriculture department has inspected it eight times since 2005 and found 32 violations that were corrected by the company, according to reports released Monday. Many of the violations related to sanitation, such as the discovery of dirt, rust, mildew and spillage buildup on surfaces.

[link to www.startribune.com]