TX Attorney General says talk of peanut plant charges "premature" - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

3/6/09

TX Attorney General says talk of peanut plant charges "premature"

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - NewsChannel 11 has new information Friday, including thoughts from the Texas Attorney General, after our live report Thursday on the state's admission concerning the Plainview peanut plant. A Texas agriculture department employee did inspect the Plainview plant 3 years in a row.

Friday, the recall of contaminated peanut products grew to include a nationally known weight loss company. Jenny Craig has announced a recall of its own peanut products connected to the peanut corporation of America plant in Plainview.

The products include:

  •  a chocolate caramel peanut bar.
  •  a peanut butter bar
  •  and a peanut butter flavor nutritional bar.

Jenny Craig says these products are voluntarily recalled on the advice of the Texas Department of State Health Services.  Click here for a complete listing of Jenny's Cuisine products subject to the PCA recalls in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Nationally, about 700 illnesses and at least nine deaths have been linked to the P.C.A. plant in Blakely, Georgia. However, Texas officials say the same strain of deadly salmonella has also been detected at the Plainview P.C.A facility. In February the Plainview plant shut down voluntarily.

State officials said that it was never licensed or inspected.  However, there was a state inspector in there three years in a row. He was a Lubbock-based agriculture department inspector, not a health department inspector.  But his failure to notify state health officials of problems cost him his job.

Also on Friday, the top prosecutor in Texas, Attorney General Greg Abbott, came to Lubbock. NewsChannel 11 asked him, is your office going to file charges against anyone related to the P.C.A. plant in Plainview. "Our office is one of the agencies that is looking into all of the events that took place out there. At this stage it would be premature to comment on exactly what kind of outcome that will be," Abbott said.

We also tried talking to Hale County prosecutors earlier this week. They were vague about what kinds of charges are possible.

It is interesting to note that, at the federal level, charges can be filed whether or not anyone got sick. All federal officials have to prove is that contaminated food was knowingly or intentionally distributed across state lines.

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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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Learn More About Salmonella
Salmonella is one of the most common intestinal infections in the U.S.  Learn more about contraction, prevention and treatment of this disease.

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