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Gosh, the corporate-friendly deregulation agenda just keeps giving, doesn’t it?
The latest gift is salmonella contamination in peanut butter. It went into crackers, cookies, ice cream, and other products – even dog biscuits. We don’t know how many fidos have perished, but eight humans are dead and more than 500 people in 43 states have been seriously sickened – half of them children.
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The source of this outbreak is a plant in Georgia owned by the Peanut Corporation of America. Now get this: PCA officials knew the plant had a salmonella problem, because their own internal testing program found deadly bacteria in their peanut butter a dozen times in the past two years. Yet, they knowingly shipped the contaminated product anyway and
took no steps to sanitize the plant!
Thank you, deregulation deities. Food corporations regularly run safety tests, but – here’s the cute part – they are not required to reveal the results to federal or state regulators. So, they don’t. It’s a shameful game of regulatory hide & seek.
Meanwhile, the inspection budgets and enforcement powers of health officials have also been sacrificed to the gods of deregulation, so the public has no effective control over America’s 65,000 food production plants. PCA’s Georgia factory, for example, has never been inspected by the feds. And while state officials have cited the plant many times for unsanitary conditions, there’s been no punishment imposed. Indeed, even after officials confirmed that this plant is the source of the current salmonella contamination, the corporation was declared free to restart production.
Where’s their conscience, you ask? Well, a conscience is said to be the nagging realization that someone might be watching you. But a corporation has no conscience, which is why it must be watched so closely – otherwise, deregulation will keep killing us.
“FDA report finds multimple problems at peanut plant,” www.yahoo.com, January 28, 2009.
“Peanut Processor Knowingly Sold Tainted Products,” www.washingtonpost.com, January 28, 2009.
“FDA: Peanut processor found salmonella, shipped anyway,” USA Today, January 28, 2009,