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Salmonella Outbreak Site Has History of Health Violations: Report
Date:1/27/2009

Meanwhile, U.S. officials say illnesses linked to tainted peanut butter products seem to be declining

TUESDAY, Jan. 27 (HealthDay News) -- The Georgia facility that produced the peanut butter and peanut paste involved in the nationwide salmonella outbreak has a history of health-inspection violations, according to a published report.

Meanwhile, U.S. health officials reported Monday that the outbreak, which has now sickened more than 500 people and possibly contributed to eight deaths, might be winding down, with the number of new cases declining during the last two weeks.

The health-inspection violations at the now-closed Blakely, Ga., plant, owned by Peanut Corp. of America, date back to 2006 and include dirty surfaces, grease residue, and gaps in warehouse doors that could allow rodents to gain entry to the plant, The New York Times reported.

According to the Times, a typical entry in an inspection report from Aug. 23, 2007, said: "The food-contact surfaces of re-work kettle in the butter room department were not properly cleaned and sanitized." Other entries said: "The food-contact surfaces of the bulk oil roast transfer belt" in one room "were not properly cleaned and sanitized. The food-contact surfaces of pan without wheels in the blanching department were not properly cleaned and sanitized."

The Times said officials at Peanut Corp. did not respond to requests for a comment.

A total of 502 people in 43 states and one Canadian province have been sickened in the outbreak of salmonella Typhimurium, one of the more common strains of the bacteria. And eight deaths may be linked to the contamination, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While it's too soon to say for sure, the outbreak may have peaked, the CDC said Monday on its Web site, with the number of new cases having declined during the last two weeks. The outbreak seems
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