Peanut Company Shuts It’s Texas Plant

It just seems to me that when you have production of goods going into so many food products you would have controls in place to insure the safety of the public…Doesn’t it? Passing the responsibility off to others for the testing of the product is not an option. Both the state, the federal government, and the company own liability for these types of food safety issues…

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

Monday night, the company also shuttered its Plainview, Tex., plant at the request of state health officials after laboratory results showed salmonella in samples of roasted peanuts, peanut meal and granulated peanuts taken last week, said Doug McBride, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. Additional analysis is needed to confirm the contamination and determine if the bacteria are the same type of salmonella linked to the outbreak, McBride said.(1)

The one thing these food safety issues keep pointing out is the lack of real testing in the processing and production of our food supply. The production of cheap food has driven our agriculture and food production policy for the past 50 years. Unfortunately, as our food production has been centralized, our safety measures have been side-stepped. After our experiences of the last decade, maybe now is the time to revisit our priorities when in comes to what we are putting into our bodies…

Since 1985, when salmonella in milk from a Chicago-area dairy and listeria in soft cheese from Southern California caused dozens of deaths and tens of thousands of illnesses, America has learned to cope with an apparent increase in food-borne illnesses. Ground beef, fresh juice, chicken, seafood and spinach have all been carriers.

But packaged products on supermarket shelves have rarely been found to harbor deadly pathogens. Critics of the food industry, like the Center for Science in the Public Interest, say this outbreak points up how serious problems with food manufacturing can be.

Others, though, say it may feed an already overblown fear of the food supply.

“As far as I know, eating is now about being scared,” said Chris Kimball, the publisher and editor of Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines.(2)

The real take-away from the Times article is this…

As food processing became more sophisticated and lucrative, peanut butter worked its way into more products. Not only is it more abundant than other nut butters, it’s an inexpensive way to boost the protein levels and texture in certain foods, said Marc Halperin, chief operating officer at the Center for Culinary Development in San Francisco, which helps large food companies create new products.

Peanuts and peanut butter have become a way to change the nutritional value of processed foods. Could the prevalence of peanuts in hidden places explain some of the increases in the allergic reactions that have become so common in recent years?

(1) via Peanut Company at Center of Outbreak Shuts Its Texas Plant After Salmonella Is Found – washingtonpost.com.

(2) via Peanut Butter Has the Recession Going for It – NYTimes.com.

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