Congress holds more peanut safety hearings Wednesday - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/10/09

Congress holds more peanut safety hearings Wednesday

Half of all Texas peanuts are grown near Lubbock, and the peanut industry goes on trial Wednesday, not literally but figuratively.  Right alongside it will be federal and state agencies as the U.S. House oversight subcommittee demands testimony, documents, and answers. 

Tuesday we learned the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Plainview has tested positive for the presence of salmonella. So far, all of the deaths and injuries have been traced to Peanut Corporation of America's plant in Georgia, not Plainview.  At least 600 people have gotten sick in 44 states, and eight deaths have been reported.  

Wednesday the President of P.C.A. and the family of a 78-year-old man who died are scheduled to testify before congress.
Bill Marlerclass action attorney "the breach of morals on the part of this company, in this particular instance, is shocking."

It's not just P.C.A in the hot seat. State and federal agencies will also be asked how this wasn't detected and stopped.

Lubbock area peanut farmers were already hurting even before the salmonella scare. What they need are higher prices for their crops, not lower. James Martin a local peanut grower says "In fact with input costs going up, fertilizer and oil we actually need more to grow them. I'm not expecting that to happen this year."

Local expert Shelly Nutt tells NewsChannel 11 that Peanut Corporation of America handles only one percent of the nation's peanut products.  Yet 100 percent of the industry will suffer.

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FDA Peanut Butter Recalls
Click here for the latest from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the peanut butter/salmonella recall.

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