Ga. peanut company officials indicted in contamination case
11 Alive News: 11:59 AM, Feb 21, 2013
WASHINGTON -- Four former officials of the Peanut Corporation of America were named in a 75-count indictment Thursday on charges related to salmonella-tainted peanuts and peanut products.
The charges cap an inquiry that began in 2009 after the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control traced a national outbreak of salmonella to a PCA plant in Blakely, Ga.
The salmonella outbreak sickened more than 714 people in 46 states and may have contributed to nine deaths, the CDC reported. The illnesses began in January of 2009 and led to one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history, involving thousands of products.
An FDA inspection of the plant found dirty, unsanitary conditions. The company's own testing had found salmonella contamination, but it continued to ship its products, according to the FDA.
In some instances, the company had the product tested again by a different laboratory and got a clean test result, FDA officials said.
Here we have an excellent example for Food Industry Safety Management Systems. The FDA complains that it does not have enough resources to really inspect all food processors. Why doesn’t the FDA require Safety Management Systems for all food processing facilities? When SMS is mandated, the regulators’ oversight becomes much easier to implement. The focus from Inspection is turned to Assessment of the System.
This incident also points out the need for Upper Management of any company to have a moral obligation to assure the safety of the public whom they serve. It was determined, before shipping, that the batches of peanut product were tainted with Salmonella. It was a choice by the CEO to go ahead and ship the product. The cost of Non-Quality certainly outweighs the cost of having a working QA SMS Program....your thoughts.