Salmonella Scare Rattles Peanut County

Farmers report fewer contracts
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2009 5:50 PM CST
A peanut monument adorns the square in front of the Early County Courthouse in Blakely, Ga. The peanut butter plant that produced the suspect peanut paste is a major employer here.   (AP Photo/Ric Feld)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – A Georgia county that boasts a big peanut in its courthouse square is getting crunched by the salmonella outbreak, the Los Angeles Times reports. In Blakely-Early County, Ga.—the self-proclaimed "Peanut Capital of the World"—peanut plant workers are losing jobs and farmers are getting fewer contracts. Then there's the recession. "We're in hot water," Blakely Mayor Ric Hall said.

The Peanut Corp. of America—fingered by the FDA as the salmonella source—recently laid off 50 in Blakely. A paper production plant, the county's biggest employer, is dropping at least another 100. But Peanut Corp. inspires the lion's share of anger and shame. "Everybody is looking at us thinking that we are unsanitary people, and we're not," a part-time peanut worker said.
(Read more salmonella stories.)