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Marler Blog Providing Commentary on Food Poisoning Outbreaks & Litigation

Congressional Hearings Scheduled for February and Labs Under Scrutiny in Salmonella Peanut Butter Illnesses and Deaths

According to AP reports, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, will conduct hearings the week of February 11, 2009 into the cause of the Peanut Butter Outbreak that has sickened over 500 and killed eight.  It is anticipated that Mr. Waxman will ask Salmonella victims to tell their stories, as well as put under oath the owners (the Parnell’s) of the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA).  In addition, two private labs now under scrutiny in the outbreak (J. Leek Associates Inc., and Deibel Labs Inc.) will also be called to testify.  It is unclear if other manufacturers (King Nut and Kellogg) will be called to testify too.

Well, I missed the Inauguration, but will not miss these fireworks.  I have testified before this Committee on two occasions – 2007 ad 2008.  Hopefully we can make a bit more progress.  My advise to PCA – "Things to do before Mr. Waxman puts you under oath:

1.  PCA should not destroy any documents;

2.  PCA should let all interested parties into the Blakely plant;

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

4. PCA should offer to pay the cost of all related Health Department, CDC and FDA investigations;

5.  PCA must provide all bacterial and viral testing of all PCA peanut butter products – before and after recall;

6.  PCA must release all inspection reports on the PCA plant by any governmental entity or third-party auditor;

7.  PCA must release all bacterial or viral safety precautions taken – especially after the 2007 Salmonella peanut butter outbreak.

Seven good ideas before you book your flight to Washington DC.