DALLAS (AP) — The Texas Department of State Health Services is taking over the recall of products shipped from a peanut processing plant that shut down amid nationwide salmonella fears.
The state agency is stepping in because the Peanut Corp. of America plant in Plainview has been unresponsive, state officials said Friday.
The Lynchburg, Va.-based Peanut Corp. of America filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy Feb. 13.
The day before, Texas health officials ordered an initial recall of all products ever shipped from the Panhandle plant after inspectors found dead rodents, feces and bird feathers in a crawl space above a production area.
"When you order a recall and don't get a response you've got to do something to protect the public," Doug McBride, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said Friday. "They weren't going to do it, so we are doing it."
State health safety workers are now notifying manufacturers, distributors and retailers believed to have received products from the Plainview plant and asking them to take appropriate action to protect consumers.
Some companies who did business with PCA have already issued recall notices in response to news coverage last week. Notices are also posted online at www.fda.gov.
The Plainview plant operated unlicensed and uninspected for nearly four years.
Andrew Goldstein, the bankruptcy attorney for the peanut company, did not immediately return a phone message left by The Associated Press.
Federal investigators last month identified a Georgia peanut processing plant operated by Peanut Corp. as the source of the salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 600 people and been linked to nine deaths.
More than 2,000 possibly contaminated consumer products have already been recalled in one of the largest product recalls ever.
At the Texas plant, inspectors found a ventilation system was pulling debris from the infested crawl space into production areas. The plant, which voluntarily closed Feb. 9 after preliminary tests showed possible salmonella contamination, was also ordered by the state to stop producing and distributing food products.
McBride said he did not know the volume of peanut products produced by the Plainview plant since its opening in March 2005.
State officials said they will try to force Peanut Corp. to pay for the cost of the recall.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.