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Dasher 02-06-09 04:03 PM

*Breaking News*-FDA: Ga. Plant Knowingly Sent Tainted Products

FDA: Ga. Plant Knowingly Sent Tainted Products
Potentially Tainted Peanut Products Sent To Schools

POSTED: Friday, February 6, 2009
UPDATED: 3:56 pm CST February 6, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Federal inspectors found that a Georgia peanut plant now at the center of a salmonella outbreak exposed some of its equipment to insecticides in 2001.

In a report based on that visit nearly eight years ago, inspectors said that workers at the Peanut Corp. of America's plant used an insecticide fogger not suitable for food areas and didn't wash its equipment.

Food and Drug Administration inspectors also found dirty duct tape on broken equipment, dead insects around peanuts, and gaps in doors that allowed rodents to enter the plant.

Those findings in 2001 are similar to problems discovered last month after the company shipped salmonella-tainted peanuts and peanut butter linked to at least eight deaths and 575 illnesses in 43 states.

On Friday, the Department of Agriculture said the federal government sent potentially contaminated peanut products to schools in three states for a free lunch program in 2007.

Officials said peanut butter and roasted peanuts processed by the Peanut Corp. of America were sent to schools in California, Minnesota and Idaho.

More than 1,300 foods that used ingredients from the company's processing plant in Blakely, Ga., have been recalled.

While the outbreak appears to be slowing down, new illnesses are still being reported.

Also on Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it is going to ship 660,000 new meals to storm-damaged Arkansas and Kentucky after finding some of the packages contained recalled peanut butter.

The news came a day after the agency identified meals distributed in Kentucky had packets of peanut butter recalled in the nationwide salmonella outbreak. The meals had not yet been distributed in Arkansas.

FEMA said it has not received any complaints about illnesses from the peanut butter.

FEMA said it is shipping Meals Ready to Eat, designed for use by the military, to the two states to replace the commercial meal kits previously sent.

FDA: Ga. Plant Knowingly Sent Tainted Products - Health News Story - KSAT San Antonio

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