Minnesota Department of Health announces late Friday that the have linked thirty illnesses ( and a death) to the consumption of King Nut Peanut Butter (and Parnell’s Pride?). There is nothing on the CDC website or other State Health Department sites naming names – yet. On Saturday King Nut and the FDA jointly release a recall notification, but King Nut blames the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) for its problem. PCA’s lawyers write a press release that tries to deny as much as possible.
So, what is next? Here are a few ideas (not in any particular order) that the companies involved and the government should do Monday morning:
1. Make sure ALL product is promptly recalled;
2. Do not destroy any documents;
3. The companies should pay the medical bills and all related expenses of the innocent victims and their families;
4. The companies should pay the cost of all related Health Department, CDC and FDA investigations;
5. Provide all bacterial and viral testing of all recalled product and any other tested product (before and after recall);
6. Release all inspection reports on the plants by any Governmental Entity or Third-party Auditor;
7. Release all Salmonella safety precautions taken by either King Nut or Peanut Corporation of America – especially after the 2007 Salmonella Peanut Butter Outbreak;
8. Provide the public with the Epidemiological investigation (with names redacted), so it is clear who knew what and when about the likely source of the outbreak; and,
9. Show the public what is being done to prevent the next outbreak.
Taking these steps will go a long way in convincing us that food safety and consumer confidence is of primary importance both to the companies and the government.