In a nutshell: The gig is up. Peanut Corporation of America is now expanding their recall to include everything from peanut butter to peanut paste to peanut meal to roasted peanuts.
FDA press release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — Lynchburg, Va. (January 28, 2009) – Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) is voluntarily recalling all peanuts and peanut products processed in its Blakely, Georgia facility since Jan. 1, 2007. Previously, PCA announced a recall of peanut butter and peanut paste. PCA sells its products to institutional and industrial users for service in large institutions or for sale and further processing by other companies. PCA does not sell peanuts or peanut products directly to consumers in stores.
PCA is not aware of any complaints or reports of illness involving the additional peanuts and peanut products subject to this expanded recall. PCA is acting out of an abundance of caution and with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s help to recall all products manufactured in its Georgia facility. PCA is voluntarily taking this larger recall action following almost two weeks of inspection and review at the Georgia facility.
The expanded recall includes all peanuts (dry and oil roasted), granulated peanuts, peanut meal, peanut butter and peanut paste. All of the recalled peanuts and peanut products were made only at the company’s Blakely, Georgia facility; the lot numbers and a description of the products being recalled are listed at the end of this release. The Blakely, Georgia facility has stopped producing all peanut products.
The voluntary recall comes amid an FDA investigation into a nationwide salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 500 people nationwide beginning in September, with the largest number of illnesses reported in November. Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
Because some of our peanut products have been used by manufacturers of pet food, we are also alerting the public that Salmonella is an organism that can potentially be transferred to people handling pet treats exposed to Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products. Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Well animals can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
The potential for contamination was noted after samples from peanut butter containers and environmental samples from the Blakely, Georgia facility tested positive for Salmonella. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said the investigation is “very active and dynamic,” and PCA continues to work closely with the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as they continue their investigation into the nationwide outbreak of Salmonella.
PCA is notifying customers who received recalled products by phone and/or in writing. Customers should segregate and hold the product and call PCA at 1-877-564-7080 for further instructions. Consumers should contact the FDA and visit the agency web site for a complete list of all products affected.
“We have been devastated by this, and we have been working around the clock with the FDA to ensure any potentially unsafe products are removed from the market immediately,” said Stewart Parnell, President of Peanut Corporation of America. “Additionally, we are working alongside state and federal food safety experts in every way we can to help them protect consumers, both now and in the future.
“We want our customers and consumers to know that PCA is taking extraordinary measures, out of an abundance of caution, to identify and recall all products that have been identified as potential risks.”
The recalled peanuts and peanut products were distributed nationwide to institutions, food service industries, and private label food companies as well as and in Canada, Haiti, Korea and Trinidad.
All lots that are affected begin with the lot number 7, 8 or 9. The following is the description of the products being recalled:
Peanut Butter All Styles All Sizes All Lots beginning with 7, 8, or 9
Peanut Paste All Styles All Sizes All Lots beginning with 7,8, or 9
Peanut Meal All Styles All Sizes All lots beginning with 7, 8, or 9
Peanut Granules All Styles All Sizes All lots beginning with 7, 8 or 9
Peanuts All Styles All Sizes All lots beginning with 7, 8 or 9
“We have been devastated by this, and we have been working around the clock with the FDA to ensure any potentially unsafe products are removed from the market immediately,” said Stewart Parnell, President of Peanut Corporation of America.
According to an article in the New York Times the PCA has numerous problems with health and safety issues and ongoing salmonella problems. You have to wonder why they were not dinged earlier if they were being investigated or how often the Georgia Department of Health or FDA visits production plants.