PLAINVIEW, TX (KCBD) - NewsChannel 11 is learning more about the conditions inside the Peanut Corporation of America's (PCA) plant in Plainview from a former employee. Also, for the first time, the former plant manager says stories about the unsanitary conditions are not true.
"He was actually the best manager, that I saw, that did everything he could with what he could." NewsChannel 11 spoke with a former employee of the PCA plant in Plainview Wednesday. He asked us not to identify him, so we'll call him "Daniel".
Daniel worked at the plant from the time it opened in March of 2005 until it closed last week. He tells us that conditions inside the plant were unsanitary from day one, with a leaky roof and rodent infestation. Daniel says when he saw problems arise with the PCA plant in Georgia; he knew their facility was next. "There were things that we did produce for Blakely, GA that we would ship to them; everybody in the facility knew for a fact they were going to come down to us pretty fast, and sure enough they were there with in no time," Daniel said.
Still, Daniel says conditions improved under manager Jesus Garrocho. "The first manager didn't really do much about it. The second manager did what he could basically, wasn't much at all, and when it came down to Mr. Jesus Garrocho, he did everything he could, but whenever he would ask for the money to get it fixed, it would never happen," Daniel said.
Garrocho told the Plainview Herald that he was the operations manager since May of 2007. He says: "Contrary to many reports, the plant was routinely inspected by various agencies, groups, and customers, in addition to a third party auditor that was contracted for annual inspections."
Garrocho went on to say that: "PCA advertised in the local newspaper, was a member of several civic groups, all actions of a company with the community's best interest at heart."
Daniel says he thought the improvements crew members accomplished at the plant would prevent federal investigators from actually shutting them down. "I actually think we did one heck of a job towards the end, the way that place looked. I mean, we all pulled together and did what we could. Basically it was too late. It was way too late," Daniel said.
Ex peanut plant employee speaks out about unsanitary conditions