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FDA: Company Knowingly Shipped Tainted Peanut Products
Date:2/6/2009

Agency now reports that Peanut Corp. of America sent out supplies it knew contained salmonella

FRIDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The peanut company at the center of the nationwide salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds knowingly shipped tainted product, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced late Friday.

The FDA had previously said that Peanut Corp. of America (PCA) retested the products in question after receiving an initial positive result and then sent them out from its Georgia processing plant only after follow-up testing came back negative.

But late Friday, the FDA said that PCA shipped peanut butter, chopped peanuts and peanut meal that had tested positive without waiting to receive negative test results, according to an Associated Press report.

On its Web site, the FDA noted in its latest report: "In some ... situations, the firm shipped the products before it had received the positive test results. For these, sometimes the firm received a subsequent negative test, and sometimes no additional testing appears to have been done."

PCA is denying any wrongdoing, according to the AP.

The company's Blakely, Ga., plant has been cited as the source of the salmonella outbreak that has now sickened 575 people in 43 states and is linked to eight deaths.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture banned the company from doing business with the government, according to The New York Times.

Also on Thursday, members of the Senate Agriculture Committee chastised FDA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials for their slow intervention in the salmonella outbreak and demanded they find ways to cooperate to ensure the safety of Americans' food, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"All of this happened because of a failure -- the failure of our government to prevent unsafe food from entering the food chain," Se
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