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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

People get Salmonella Typhimurium from eating Peanut Butter, Minnesota points the finger at King Nut, who points the finger at Peanut Corporation of America, so what is next?

Minnesota Department of Health announces late Friday that the have linked thirty illnesses ( and a death) to the consumption of King Nut Peanut Butter (and Parnell’s Pride?).  There is nothing on the CDC website or other State Health Department sites naming names – yet. On Saturday King Nut and the FDA jointly release a recall notification, but King Nut blames the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) for its problem. PCA’s lawyers write a press release that tries to deny as much as possible.

So, what is next? Here are a few ideas (not in any particular order) that the companies involved and the government should do Monday morning:

1.  Make sure ALL product is promptly recalled;

2.  Do not destroy any documents;

3.  The companies should pay the medical bills and all related expenses of the innocent victims and their families;

4.  The companies should pay the cost of all related Health Department, CDC and FDA investigations;

5.  Provide all bacterial and viral testing of all recalled product and any other tested product (before and after recall);

6.  Release all inspection reports on the plants by any Governmental Entity or Third-party Auditor;

7.  Release all Salmonella safety precautions taken by either King Nut or Peanut Corporation of America – especially after the 2007 Salmonella Peanut Butter Outbreak;

8.  Provide the public with the Epidemiological investigation (with names redacted), so it is clear who knew what and when about the likely source of the outbreak; and,

9.  Show the public what is being done to prevent the next outbreak.

Taking these steps will go a long way in convincing us that food safety and consumer confidence is of primary importance both to the companies and the government.

  • Good morning, Bill.
    Another thought for your list — local health departments are still not notified in a timely manner (if at all) regarding the existence of a real
    or potential outbreak. Very difficult, when we are the first line to identify possible cases and do prevention/education.
    The feds release info to the media, but not to health departments. I’ll keep repeating this to any ears until we’re included in the mix.
    Thank goodness for this list, your blog and Doug Powell. Without, I’d have little knowledge of essential food safety updates and info.
    Happy Monday.

  • Kathy

    I help my church with a weekend meal for the clients in our community who are on the meals on wheels program. Our turn is coming up this Saturday. I always try to get the best I can for them with the monies we have designated for this ministry. I always encourage our church volunteers to apply safe habits to what we do: handwashing, hair covered, frequent handwashing, hot foods handled and kept hot, and cold food handled cold and kept cold. At Christmas, we could not get volunteer drivers to deliver the meals on Christmas Day, so we made a cold salad meal for Christmas Eve afternoon, that they could keep in the refrigerator for Christmas Day. The social worker where I work is pregnant, and she told me the doctor warned her about eating coldcuts without cooking because of a warning. I went to the USDA website and read about the danger, including children and older adults, and the rest of the population that might be immunosuppressed. But yet, when you walk into Subway or all these other sub shops around, there is not warning label present for these special populations to take heed. Doesn’t make sense to me. By the way, the indicators stated that the “canned” ham product was safe, so that is what we sliced, with a minimum of handling to put in the plate and send out. Now, with Saturday coming, today a holiday(MLK), and trying to plan a menu, I do not think I will choose any pnut butter products for the day. Thank you.
    PS: I already went online to check several food web sites, USDA, etc, and not a single recommendation is on there yet.