Congress grills peanut CEO over salmonella poisonings - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Congress grills peanut CEO over salmonella poisonings

WASHINGTON. - The head of the Georgia peanut company behind the salmonella outbreak has been forced to appear before Congress Wednesday.

At the last minute, late Tuesday afternoon, the House subcommittee investigating this outbreak subpoenaed the head of Peanut Corporation of America to face some of the victims and explain why he shipped products that the government says he knew were contaminated.

More Information

- From the FDA: Recall of Products Containing Peanut Butter
- Search combined list of recalled products here
- Contact the FDA at 1-888-SAFEFOOD
- Contact the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO
- Products determined to be safe at the American Peanut Council

Three-year-old Jacob Hurley is one of 550 people who got sick from tainted peanut butter, eight others have died.

Hurley's father testifies today, as Congress looks into why the Peanut Corporation of America shipped products after internal tests came up positive for salmonella 12 times.

So far 1,900 products have been recalled.

E-mails show the company's president complained holding shipments, based on positive tests, was costing him huge amounts of money.

He eventually ordered the plant to "turn them loose."

"These documents are very disturbing," said Representive Henry Waxman.  "What they show is this company cared more about its financial bottom line, than it did about the safety of its customers."

Company president Stewart Parnell is here today, but he's expected to plead the Fifth.

Congressman Michael Burgess, a Texas Republican, wondered "I'd love to ask: How did you think this was going to work out for you?"

Congress also wants to know if the government did its job.

The company's plants in Georgia and Texas have both tested positive for salmonella.

Before this outbreak, the Texas plant had never been inspected and now both are closed.

One of the things Congress will look at today is whether new laws are needed, or whether what's on the books should be better enforced.


 

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