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USA Today reports this morning that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accused Peanut Corp. of America of shipping products in 2007 and 2008 that it knew was contaminated with salmonella.

Peanut Corp. has been implicated in the current salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 500 people and may have contributed to eight deaths.

According to the story, “The Food and Drug Administration said that its inspection of the PCA plant in Blakely, Ga., found records of 12 instances in which plant officials identified salmonella in ingredients or finished products. The products should not have been shipped, the FDA says. PCA took no steps to address cleaning after finding the salmonella, says Michael Rogers, director of the FDA's division of field investigations. In some instances, the company had the product tested again by a different laboratory and got a clean test result, FDA officials said in a telephone conference with reporters.”

KC's View:
Well, the top executives at Peanut Corp. should be happy that they live in the US instead of China. Because if they lived in China, they’d be facing a death sentence…which is what happened to the people there who were implicated in the melamine contamination scandal.

That said, if these accusations are true, these guys are disgusting. The company ought to be closed down now. It should have been closed down last year. And the execs who let this happen ought to be brought up on charges. Serious charges. Spend-time-up-the-river charges. (And I don't want to hear any senior executives blaming the guys in the plant for creating these problems … because you know that’ll be the first line of defense.)

But there’s what else I don't get. Where the hell has the FDA been for the past two or three years? The FDA guys say that they want to expand their offices outside the US so that they do a better job of testing and tracking products being imported into this country…but if the FDA applies the same levels of efficiency and effectiveness that it has established in the US, I’m not sure that I feel reassured.

(By the way…for another example of our tax dollars at work, check out the HFCS story below…)