The recalls grow

AP is reporting that the Texas Department of State Health Services has ordered a recall of everything ever produced at Peanut Corp of America’s plant in Plainview TX.

The order came Thursday evening from the Department of State Health Services. The agency says "dead rodents, rodent excrement and bird feathers" were discovered Wednesday in a crawl space above a production area.

A state inspection also found that the unit’s air handling system was pulling debris from the infested crawl space into production areas.

The plant began operating in March 2005 but was shut down earlier this week.

The health department order also requires the plant to stop producing and distributing food products.

This will lead to more recalls — the FDA’s searchable database already lists over 2000.

Some choice quotes:

Robert Grauer, president of In a Nut Shell, a San Leandro, Calif., said he’s not taking any chances. The company has about 200 cases of peanuts from the Texas plant, and has to decided to hold them in storage.

"We’re not going to take a chance risking our customers — not over some peanuts."

Ken Werner, owner of Werner Gourmet Meat Snacks Inc. in Tillamook, Ore., said fewer than 20 of his company’s roughly 100 products contain peanuts. He recalled trail mixes and peanuts that were covered under earlier recalls linked to the Georgia plant. But he hadn’t yet recalled any products linked to the Texas plant.

"We’re waiting to hear from the FDA as far as a recall," he said. "If they issue a recall, we’ll recall more products."

The Bergin Fruit & Nut Co. in St. Paul, Minn., has had nearly 2,000 pounds of raw redskin and blanched peanuts on hold since late January, when Peanut Corp. issued an expanded recall that included products produced at its Georgia plant as far back as 2007, said quality control manager Bill Jaspers.

"We will probably be destroying it because, frankly, I think PCA has got bigger problems than a product recall," he said.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.