Recall covers last two years; lawmakers demand criminal probe after U.S. health officials say company had distributed questionable peanut butter products in 2007 and 2008.
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. health officials announced a startling nationwide recall late Wednesday for all peanut products made over the last two years at the Georgia plant involved in the current salmonella outbreak.
The recall was initiated by Peanut Corp. of America, whose facility produced peanut butter and peanut paste that was the source of the sickening of 501 people, and the possible deaths of eight others.
"Today, the firm announced that, due to internal tests indicating salmonella contamination in its products, which had not been disclosed to state or federal regulatory authorities until very recently, the company is expanding its recall of all the peanut products manufactured in its Blakely, Ga., plant since Jan. 1, 2007," Stephen Sundlof, a top official at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said during a teleconference Wednesday.
"This is among the largest recalls we have had," he added.
The recall involves all peanuts, dry and oil roasted, granulated peanuts, peanut meal, peanut butter and peanut paste, he said.
Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, also said the agency did not know whether all the recalled products have been consumed or whether they are still in use. "We are trying to find out the scope," he said.
The news followed disclosure by FDA officials Tuesday that Peanut Corp. had distributed questionable peanut butter product in the past from the plant.
That revelation prompted Congressional and Georgia officials on Wednesday to call for a federal probe of possible criminal violations at the plant, the Associated Press reported.
From 2007 into 2008, Peanut Corp. shipped peanut butter that it knew had bee
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