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Food Politics

Politics of the Plate: A Nutty Situation Gets Nuttier

A company linked to the salmonella outbreak knowingly sold tainted peanut butter a whopping 12 times in the past two years, according to officials.
peanut butter sandwich

It’s appalling that food-safety inspectors allowed salmonella-tainted peanut butter to stay on the market long enough to kill at least eight people and sicken more than 500 others in 43 states and Canada.

But it defies belief that Peanut Corporation of America, one of the companies linked to the outbreak, knowingly sold salmonella-tainted peanut butter, not once but a dozen times during the past two years, according to a story published this week in The Washington Post.

Normally, I would point an accusatory finger at the FDA, which is supposed to keep salmonella and other toxins out of our food. But this time the agency is blameless. Under current laws, private companies are not required to let the FDA or any other government regulator know the results of the tests they conduct for bacteria within their plants.

The Peanut Corporation of America said in an email to the Post that it “has cooperated fully with the FDA from day one during the course of this investigation. We have shared every record that they have asked for that is in our possession and we will continue to do so.”

If only they’d been this willing to share those records with consumers.