In 2009, Peanut Corp of America's Texas plant was closed as the largest recall in history due to unsanitary conditions. As a whistleblower against Peanut Corp I have followed this story from the recall that killed at least 9 and made about 700 ill. Although the plant was registered with the Texas Dept. of Agriculture, they were never registered with the Texas Dept. of Health and thus never given a proper inspection. Although the executives have been indicted on 56 charges there is a glaring issue of did anything change or were any lessons learned.
After Peanut Corp in Texas was closed in Feb. 2009, the State ran "tape matches" to try and identify other facilities that were not licensed. It took 17 months to identify 355 facilities, none of which were closed or fined for breaking the law, although an individual would certainly face charges for breaking the law. Now jump ahead to today, the matches that were ran with other state agencies was in July 2010, has another effort been made to identify facilities producing food in last the last few years? If so, there certainly has been no news of it. Any new facility that has opened would have no fear of not registering as their were no consequences for those 355 facilities that had not registered in the past. If caught, they would just be asked to come into compliance in a very pro-business state that holds its citizens accountable but not corporations.
So again we must ask, how many new facilities are out there that have never had any sort of inspection and have had no incentive to do so? How many people may have been poisoned? It would seem to be good business sense for Texas to ensure that producers from the state are the safest, thus encouraging corporations to buy from Texas. Sadly that does not seem to be the case, and there is no known structure in place to ensure that another Peanut Corp-type disaster does not happen again.
This article was originally published at OpEdNews