On March 3, food inspectors reported that dead mice and rodent droppings were discovered throughout a Texas plant run by a company whose peanut products caused one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history.
Inspectors from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) visited the food processing plant in Plainview, Texas run by Peanut Corporation of America and were clearly disgusted by their findings last month.
The report said that the plant was not taking effective measures to keep pests away from the processing areas and protect the food from becoming contaminated.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 677 people across 45 states have suffered illnesses due to the ongoing salmonella food poisoning outbreak, which has been traced to two of the company’s plants in Georgia and Texas.
There have been more than 2,833 products recalled since mid-January, though brand names of peanut butter have not been affected.
The inspectors discovered many potential contaminants, including a recently dead mouse stuck to a glue trap, rodent excrement “too numerous to count” under a kitchen sink, 27 excrement pellets in a cabinet near a dishwasher, a recently dead mouse outside a kitchen doorway, a bird’s nest in a support beam, processing machines with “gooey” peanut paste buildup, and numerous roof leaks.
The recall is the latest in a series involving tainted lettuce, peppers and spinach that have caused an erosion of public confidence in food safety and renewed calls for change at the FDA.
On March 3, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislature that would widen the FDA’s powers for controlling food safety.
Peanut Corp. recently declared bankruptcy.