retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports this morning that “federal health officials are investigating another Peanut Corp. of America processing plant as a possible second source in the national salmonella outbreak … Peanut Corp.’s plant in Plainview, Texas, was identified as a potential source of salmonella after Colorado health officials found six cases that have the same genetic fingerprint as the salmonella cases linked to the Blakely plant.”

The paper notes that the new revelation complicates the investigation, which previously centered in product that emanated from the company’s Georgia plant.

“The Colorado cases were associated with a natural-foods grocery store, Vitamin Cottage, that bought peanuts from the Peanut Corp.’s Texas plant and ground them into its own peanut butter,” the paper writes. “The natural foods chain recalled its Vitamin Cottage Fresh-Ground Peanut Butter.”

More than 650 people have been sickened in the salmonella outbreak, and as many as nine have died.

The Journal-Constitution offers a sobering assessment of the extent of the problem: “The additional recalls deepen what is already one of the largest food recalls in American history. The recall began in January with a few hundred products and as of Sunday stood at 2,591 products from more than 200 companies.

“The recalls have extended beyond American borders to Aruba, Australia, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, St. Maarten, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the United Kingdom. The recalls also have reached into some surprising products, such as bird food.

“The Texas plant had operated for several years with no license and no government health inspections. Recent preliminary tests at the Texas plant showed possible signs of salmonella contamination, health officials said.”

PCA filed for bankruptcy protection on February 13.

KC's View:
PCA’s financial bankruptcy may be recent. Its moral and ethical bankruptcy goes back a lot farther, if all the reports are to be believed. There ought to be no protection from consequences when it comes to PCA’s moral and ethical bankruptcy.