A Blakely, Georgia, case of peanut contamination shows a safety net that is badly frayed. On initial observation, raw peanuts were kept close to processed peanut butter. There was also non-calibrated roaster, which could not kill deadly organisms. Demotivated workers went at home with their uniforms, which could potentially drag contaminants to the processing plant. The roof of the processing plant itself was a risk owed to the fact that salmonella species of bacteria survives well in water. The facility was kept wet rather than dry and therefore could potentially serve as a breeding ground for salmonella.
According to food experts, the plant’s condition alone was a cause of alarm in the food industry that relies on sanitation. This was partly responsible for a salmonella outbreak that claimed eight lives and sickened thousands of people. According to numerous governmental records and interviews, it is not necessary for the peanut industry to let the public, or even the government, know about contamination of plants by salmonella. This is regardless of the fact that leading food industry companies such as Kellogg’s utilize processed peanuts in different products and depend on the processing plant to conduct different food testing procedures and report any issues.
Georgia’s peanut county in the southwestern part of the state, reported problems with peanuts in the year 2004, when salmonella was found in a Sylvester plant. At that time, the FDA failed to follow up on the records and hence, the reports remained unconfirmed. In 2007, the records were finally released and confirmed following an order by the government. It was confirmed that several people had been sickened after consuming peanut butter and other peanut products contaminated with salmonella. It is therefore essential for the food industry to put up measures that would ensure food safety and minimize contamination.