It could be a common peanut farm, or a common peanut processor or some other shared source between the two plants.
Whatever it is, Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, says salmonella with the same genetic fingerprint coming out of facilities in Georgia and Texas means there has to be a common source.
“They have to have the same source,” says Osterholm, “You could have peanuts moving from one source in Georgia that ended up in Texas…There’s a tie there.”
Osterholm, one of the nation’s top food safety experts, commented to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after health officials in Colorado linked six cases to the Peanut Corporation of America’s Plainview, TX plant; not the Blakely, GA plant that has been the subject of the largest recall of peanut products in U.S. history.
The second source of salmonella complicates the food safety investigation that had centered on a single factory, the Peanut Corp.’s plant in Blakely.
But the six Colorado illnesses were linked to the Texas plant, according to Dr. Ned Calonge, chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. That suggests a common source of contamination, he said.
PCA’s Texas plant, which had gone without any licensing or inspections, was closed and its products recalled after the problems at the Blakely facility became public.
The recall began in January with a few hundred products and as of Sunday now stands at 2,591 products from more than 200 companies. Products from both the Georgia and Texas Peanut Corporation of America plants are part of the recall. The recalls have extended (we could call them experts) beyond American borders to Aruba, Australia, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United Kingdom. The recalls also have reached into some surprising products, such as bird food. Here is a complete Peanut Butter and other Peanut Containing Products Recall List.
For more in AJ-C, go here.