A salmonella outbreak triggered one of the largest product recalls recently, as federal inspectors reported finding roaches, mold, a leaking roof and other sanitary problems at a Georgia peanut plant.
Managers at the Blakely, Ga., plant owned by Peanut Corp. of America continued shipping peanut products even after they were found to contain salmonella, officials said.
Peanut Corp. expanded its recall to all peanut products produced at the plant since Jan. 1, 2007. The company is relatively small, but its peanut paste is an ingredient in hundreds of other food products, from ice cream to Asian-style sauces to dog biscuits.
A senior lawmaker in Congress and Georgia's agriculture commissioner called for a criminal investigation of the company, but the Food and Drug Administration said such a step is premature while its own investigation continues.
More than 500 people have been sickened and at least eight may have died of salmonella.
"It's one of the largest recalls we've had," said Stephen Sundlof, head of the FDA's food safety center.
The latest recall covers peanut butter, peanut paste, peanut meal and granulated products, as well as all peanuts—dry and oil roasted—shipped from the factory.
Salmonella had been found at least 12 times in products made at the plant, but production lines were never cleaned after internal tests indicated contamination, FDA inspectors said in a report. Products that initially tested positive were retested.
When the company got a negative reading, it shipped the products.
To learn which peanut butter products have been recalled, visit www.fda.gov