FDA says peanut plant knowingly shipped Salmonella-tainted product

Michael Rogers of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told reporters on a conference call Tuesday that the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely, Georgia, shipped out products that managers knew might be tainted with Salmonella.

"The team identified approximately 12 instances in 2007 and 2008 where the firm identified some type of salmonella … and released the products."

Records at the plant showed that after the company tested the peanut products and found salmonella, it sent at least some to an outside lab that showed no contamination. The products were then illegally shipped for sale, Rogers said.

"There (were) no steps taken (by) the firm as far as cleaning or to minimize cross-contamination.”

An FDA inspection of the plant also found at least two strains of salmonella bacteria at the plant, although they were strains that have not been associated with the current outbreak.

Details of precisely what the FDA found will be released on Wednesday, he added.