Peanuts Known Tainted Supplied to School Program

Agency meant to ensure food safety bought contaminated nuts
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 6, 2009 6:54 AM CST
An Early County (Ga.) Sheriff's Deputy leaves the the Peanut Corporation of America processing plant in Blakely, Ga., Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009.   (AP Photo/Ric Feld)
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(Newser) – The peanut firm behind the recent salmonella outbreak sold 32 truckloads of peanuts and peanut butter to a federal lunch program for poor children even after internal tests revealed that they were contaminated with the bacteria, the Washington Post reports. Schools in California, Minnesota, and Idaho received the food in 2007. Though the agriculture department isn’t aware of any illnesses in the free-lunch program, around the country 8 people died and 575 were sickened.

“This company had no conscience in its production practices, sales and distribution," says Sen. Tom Harkin, the chairman of the Senate agriculture committee. "That they would knowingly ship products tainted with salmonella to our nation's children almost defies belief.”
(Read more food contamination stories.)