Possibly-contaminated peanut butter was shipped to public schools in at least three states, according to a new article from the New York Times. The Agriculture Department, under contract with the company blamed for the salmonella outbreak, was responsible for the shipment.
According to the Times:
“The government abruptly suspended all business with the company Thursday, as officials defended their efforts to halt the outbreak that has sickened at least 575 people in 43 states. At least eight have died. It's become one of the largest food recalls ever, including more than 1,300 products.”
The peanut butter products were shipped to California, Minnesota and Idaho in 2007, to be distributed as part of free lunch programs. No illnesses have been reported in these states, and the Agriculture Department claims that there have been no potentially contaminated shipments from the company in the last year.
Peanut Corp., the Georgia company responsible for the outbreak, has had its contract suspended by the Agriculture Department, and a spokesman for the Department has criticized the peanut company, saying in an official statement that Peanut Corp. “lacks business integrity and business honesty, which seriously and directly hinders its ability to do business with the federal government.”
Since the outbreak began, at least 575 people have become sick in 43 states, and at least eight have died. According to the Associated Press, more than 1,300 foods that used ingredients from the company's processing plant in Blakely, Ga., have been recalled. The AP also reports that the outbreak does appear to be slowing down, but new illnesses are still being reported.
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