choppedcelery.jpgThe Texas Department of Health has shut down the Sangar food processing plant, saying it was contaminated by bacteria linked to the deaths of four people. In addition to chopped celery testing positive, inspectors found a condensation leak above a food product area, dirt on a food-preparation table, and hand-washing problems at the San Antonio plant.

According to CNN:

Four people died after contracting listeriosis after consuming celery that had been processed at the Sangar plant, said Carrie Williams, a department spokeswoman. State health authorities came to this determination while investigating 10 cases in which people with serious underlying health problems contracted listeriosis over an 8-month period. Six of those cases — in Bexar, Travis and Hidalgo counties — were linked to chopped celery processed at the SanGar plant, the state health services department said. Four of those people died, as did one other person who authorities believe got listeriosis from another source not connected with Sangar products.

However, also according to CNN:

Sangar, however, sharply questioned the state’s findings and strongly denied wrongdoing, saying it has had “an excellent record of safety and health” over the past three years. Its president said outside tests “directly contradict” the state’s conclusion.  “The independent testing shows our produce to be absolutely safe, and we are aggressively fighting the state’s erroneous findings,” said Kenneth Sanquist, president of Sangar.

Hmm, where have I heard this before?