One of the awesome facts of the whole peanut/ salmonella outbreak was that the Peanut Corporation of America had gone for years with either a license or any inspections. But guess what? It was not an isolated incident.
Washington Post Staff Writer Lyndsey Layton reports in Friday’s WP that:
During its investigation of the Peanut Corporation case, the FDA discovered about 20 additional facilities that have been making peanut products without the knowledge of federal regulators. It learned about the facilities because they were buying peanuts from PCA, said Michael Herndon, an FDA spokesman. The agency will not name the 20 facilities or say where they are located, he said, adding that FDA inspectors are planning to visit each site shortly.
"It’s a little depressing, but not surprising, that they found another 20 facilities they didn’t know about," said Jean Halloran, director of food safety for Consumers Union. She pointed to the fact that unknown to federal regulators, one of Peanut Corporation of America’s three facilities had operated in Plainview, Tex., for four years until the outbreak.
It looks to us like there was a pretty big chunk of the peanut industry operating off the radar. We wonder how much of the food industry is managing this trick of being in the market sans regulation or oversight. It unlikely that the peanut industry is the only part of the food business that maintains sub-prime operators.
See the entire WP story here.