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Texas peanut plant is shuttered

WASHINGTON — A second peanut processing plant owned by the company at the heart of a nationwide outbreak of salmonella illness has been shut down after the bacteria were discovered in peanut products there.

Peanut Corporation of America shuttered its Plainview, Texas, plant Monday night at the request of state health officials, said Doug McBride, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. Laboratory results from samples taken on Feb. 4 of roasted peanuts, peanut meal and granulated peanuts were positive for salmonella.

Company officials notified the distributor and recalled the roasted peanuts, he said. Texas officials believe none of the contaminated product reached consumers, McBride said.

The company owns three plants in Georgia, Texas and Virginia. The federal investigation of the salmonella illness, which has killed eight people and sickened 600 others in 44 states, has centered on the Blakely, Ga., plant.

Federal officials said they were not aware the company was operating a peanut processing plant in Texas until after they began investigating the Georgia facility in early January. The Texas plant, operating since 2005, was not registered with the state and therefore had never been inspected by health officials, McBride said.

The Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation of the company.

Recall issued

In one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history, the Peanut Corporation of America has recalled all products made with peanuts processed at its Georgia plant since 2007. The list of recalled products, which is updated regularly, can be found at fda.gov.

Relief packs pulled

Although the Food and Drug Administration's national recall of peanut products expanded throughout January, the Federal Emergency Management Agency continued to put peanut butter in meal kits it distributed to victims of last month's ice storm in Kentucky. Spokesman Terry Monrad said the agency did not find packets from vendors included on the FDA's recall list. But on Feb. 4, FEMA recalled the packets after learning that some were linked to vendors of tainted peanut products and may pose health risks.

Texas peanut plant is shuttered 02/10/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 4:48pm]

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