I am looking forward to sending subpoeans to the "food safety" auditors of Peanut Corporation of America. Again, save those documents all.
For weeks now, I have been hammering on all involved in this outbreak for full disclosure and transparency. Now, bit, by painful bit, the facts are slowly coming out. The sixth item on my “TO DO LIST,” – “The FDA and PCA must release all inspection reports on the PCA plant by any governmental entity or third-party auditor,” is now being accomplished by the New York Times and USA Today.
Kellogg, one of the companies that recalled peanut products, received reports of third-party independent audits of Peanut Corporation of America in 2007 and 2008. The audits, paid for by the peanut company to meet food manufacturers’ requirements, were intended to assess its compliance with federally mandated manufacturing practices, including the condition of the plant and equipment and cleanliness, said Kris Charles, a spokeswoman for Kellogg.
Each audit, conducted by AIB International, gave the Blakely plant a “superior” rating. “We are looking into whether the third-party auditor reviewed state inspection reports or the plant’s test results,” Ms. Charles said by e-mail. “It is certainly something we would have expected them to do because it is an audit requirement.” Kellogg also received written test results from Peanut Corporation of America that the peanut paste it had supplied Kellogg showed no positive salmonella results, she said.
Kellogg says it’s reviewing how it qualifies suppliers after a food-safety auditor it hired gave superior ratings to the Georgia peanut plant now at the center of one of the nation’s largest food recalls. The auditor checked out Peanut Corp. of America’s Blakely, Ga., plant in 2007 and 2008 and gave it superior ratings both times, says Kris Charles, Kellogg spokeswoman.
Kellogg’s auditor, the American Institute of Baking, says a superior rating doesn’t mean that auditors didn’t find problems. President Jim Munyon says he considers the audits Kellogg’s property and wouldn’t say what the audits found or whether the inspections were announced. He did say that AIB wouldn’t see internal test results unless PCA shared them. "They show us only what they want to show us," he says.
King Nut, which recalled PCA-made peanut butter, sends employees to audit larger suppliers but not ones as small as PCA, CEO Martin Kanan says. PCA did supply King Nut and other customers with certificates attesting to the ingredient’s quality.