The following Press Release was posted on the Peanut Corporation of America website. The first and last parts seem to set a tone of contrition, but parts (dealing with testing of the product and knowingly shipping it) seem quite defiant:
“The goal of Peanut Corporation of America over the past 33 years has always been to follow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s good manufacturing practices in order to provide a safe product for consumers. It is because of our commitment to our customers and consumers that PCA has taken extraordinary measures to identify and recall all products that have been identified as presenting a potential risk.
PCA will remain vigilant to the recall process until we know all potentially harmful products have been pulled from store shelves and families have all the necessary information to remove recalled products from their homes. We are also working to identify those additional measures that will make our manufacturing process more effective in meeting federal and state guidelines and producing a safe product.
PCA uses only two highly reputable labs for product testing and they are widely used by the industry and employ good laboratory practices. PCA categorically denies any allegations that the Company sought favorable results from any lab in order to ship its products. Furthermore, it is important to note that the FD-483 documents posted today by the FDA quote: “… do not represent a final Agency determination regarding [your] compliance. If you have implemented, or plan to implement, corrective action in response to an observation… you may submit this information to FDA." During the recent two-week FDA onsite investigation at the Blakely, Georgia plant, the company did take corrective action, where possible. PCA does not agree with all the observations noted, and there are some inaccuracies. Therefore, it will respond in writing to the FDA.
To any consumers affected by these issues, to the food industry and to peanut consumers everywhere, we are sorry our process fell short of not only our goals, but more importantly, your expectations. We understand the seriousness of the situation that our company faces with the current product recall crisis and we deeply regret that these circumstances are causing distress to our consumers, our customers and our employees. We want our customers and consumers to know that we are continuing to work day and night with the FDA and other officials to determine the source of the problem and ensure that it never happens again.”
PCA, the two Labs it used, the FDA and Georgia Department of Agriculture should immediately release all test results and documents so any ambiguity on test results, and who knew what and when the products were shipped, can be resolved. If PCA is innocent of knowingly shipping Salmonella-tainted product, it is time to release the documents.