November 30, 2010
The plant in Georgia that produced peanut butter tainted by salmonella has a history of sanitation lapses and was cited repeatedly in 2006 and 2007 for having dirty surfaces and grease residue and dirt buildup throughout the plant, according to health inspection reports. Inspection reports from 2008 found the plant repeatedly in violation of cleanliness standards.
Inspections of the plant in Blakely, Ga., by the State Agriculture Department found areas of rust that could flake into food, gaps in warehouse doors large enough for rodents to get through, unmarked spray bottles and containers and numerous violations of other practices designed to prevent food contamination. The plant, owned by the Peanut Corporation of America of Lynchburg, Va., has been shut down.
A typical entry from an inspection report, dated Aug. 23, 2007, said: “The food-contact surfaces of re-work kettle in the butter room department were not properly cleaned and sanitized.” Additional entries noted: “The food-contact surfaces of the bulk oil roast transfer belt” in a particular room “were not properly cleaned and sanitized. The food-contact surfaces of pan without wheels in the blanching department were not properly cleaned and sanitized.”
A code violation in the same report observed “clean peanut butter buckets stored uncovered,” while another cited a “wiping cloth” to “cover crack on surge bin.” Tests on samples gathered on the day of that inspection were negative for salmonella.
The inspection reports were provided by Georgia officials in response to a request made by The New York Times under the state’s open-records act.
Two inspection reports from 2008 found the plant out of compliance with practices for making sure “food and non-food contact surfaces were cleanable, properly designed, constructed and used.”
Article: NY Times
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