Peanut Probe Grows; Feds Trace Salmonella

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 16, 2009 6:49 PM CST
The Peanut Corp. of America plant is seen on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009, in Blakely, Ga. The plant that may be linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak.    (Elliott Minor)
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(Newser) – The latest national food safety investigation took on new urgency today as federal officials confirmed salmonella contamination at a Georgia facility that ships peanut products to 85 food companies, the AP reports. On Capitol Hill, the House Energy and Commerce Committee requested records as it opened its own inquiry. The outbreak has sickened hundreds of people in 43 states and killed at least six.

Although the investigation has gone into high gear, Food and Drug Administration officials say much of their information remains sketchy. And new cases are still being reported. "We don't yet have the data to provide consumers with specifics about what brands or products they should avoid," said Stephen Sundlof, an FDA director. The probe now includes not just peanut butter, but baked goods and other products that contain peanuts and are sold directly to consumers. (Read more salmonella stories.)