Dead Rodents Trigger Recall at Texas Peanut Plant

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 12, 2009 7:33 PM CST
A handout photo released by FEMA Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009, shows a peanut butter packet inside a meal kit delivered to storm victims.    (AP Photo/FEMA)
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(Newser) – Texas has ordered a recall of all products ever shipped from a Peanut Corp. of America plant in Plainview amid a nationwide salmonella outbreak. The order came from the Department of State Health Services, which says "dead rodents, rodent excrement, and bird feathers" were discovered yesterday in a crawl space above a production area. Inspectors say the unit's air handling system was pulling debris from the infested crawl space into production areas.

Officials at the Texas plant—which processes peanut meal, granulated peanuts and roasted peanuts—voluntarily shut it down on Monday after initial lab tests showed likely salmonella contamination. Federal investigators last month identified a Peanut Corp. plant in Georgia as the source of the salmonella outbreak that has sickened about 600 people and may have killed nine. The Texas plant is run by a subsidiary of the Georgia corporation. (Read more salmonella stories.)