- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 29, 2009

UPDATED:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal officials have announced a recall of all products containing peanut paste or peanut oil produced over the past two years at a Georgia plant at the center of the current salmonella outbreak.

In a briefing Wednesday, the federal food safety officials said the plant owner — Peanut Corp. of America in Lynchburg, Va. — had agreed to the recall.

More than 500 people have gotten sick in the salmonella outbreak, which is linked to at least eight deaths.

Wednesday’s recall follow reports by federal inspectors that salmonella had been found previously at least 12 times in products made at the plant. Inspectors found that the tainted peanut products were retested, then shipped to customers.

Federal food safety officials say it’s too early to say what action will be taken against the Georgia peanut company at the heart of the current salmonella outbreak.

The Food and Drug Administration says it is preparing a report of findings on the Blakely, Ga., plant owned by Peanut Corp. of America, and the company will be allowed to respond.

The FDA’s Michael Rogers told reporters on Wednesday that the agency has a number of regulatory options available. He declined to elaborate.

Earlier, a senior lawmaker in Washington and Georgia’s agriculture commissioner called for a criminal investigation of the plant.

The salmonella outbreak has been blamed for making 500 people sick and has been linked to at least eight deaths.

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