LUBBOCK, TX. (KCBD) - A national update to a local story you saw Friday on NewsChannel 11. A New Jersey company refuses to recall peanuts tied to the Peanut Corporation of America.
Westco Fruit and Nuts says every test of its peanuts has come back negative for Salmonella. Government regulators have threatened to raid the business. On Monday, the Food & Drug Administration issued a consumer warning for people to not eat any peanut product made by Westco. The Westco peanuts are tied to Peanut Corporation of America in Blakely, Georgia, not the Plainview plant. However, Plainview has also been tied to some cases of Salmonella illness.
According to Oregon Congressman Greg Walden these photographs came from the Plainview PCA plant. They show bird feathers, dead mice, and fecal matter. Several Congressmen are currently investigating how PCA's Plainview Plant got "superior" rating from a third party inspection firm called AIB in August of last year.
"The question I think we want to know is how is it possible for a company that looks like this with pictures of rodents to receive an award like this where they're called superior," asks California Congressman Henry Waxman.
On Friday, we showed you the reaction of company President Stewart Parnell after he found out PCA products were being recalled. He wrote to another food company executive on January 7th, "Now my heart is really in my throat. I think I'm going to church tonight."
Meanwhile, President Obama recently got involved in the peanut scare, saying that food safety hits him not only as President but also as a father. The President says his daughters enjoy peanut butter sandwiches several times a week.
That prompted a response from Seminole peanut farmer and West Peanut Association board member Jimbo Grissom. He wrote to Obama saying "We are honored that the first family are devoted consumers of peanut butter, but we want to make sure that your statements do not lead Americans to believe that the peanut butter on their supermarket shelves is unsafe. This is not the case." PCA did not sell jars of peanut butter. Instead, it sold peanut butter paste in large drums to other food suppliers.
PCA e-mails show company's reaction to salmonella contamination
Congress released e-mails between PCA and other food executives. NewsChannel 11's Ann Wyatt Little has the details on the documents.