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Vegetarians in Paradise

Vegetarianism in the News

March 1, 2009 -- Vegparadise News Bureau

Peanut Scumbags Are Out of Business;
It's Time for a National Food Safety Commission

Those scumbags at the Peanut Corporation of America are out of business and it's not too soon. Anybody reading about this company has to wonder how they got away with shipping salmonella-laced peanut butter across the country.

The sadness is the eight people who died and over 600 who become ill because of the sleazy, unbelievably unsanitary practices of the owners who didn't give a crap about what they were sending out to schools, hotels, and companies who were expecting quality peanut butter. More than 2000 products that use peanuts, peanut paste, and peanut butter from this company have been recalled. Peanut Corporation of America

FDA Snoozes
And where are our food safety protectors at the FDA? Asleep at the wheel as usual. They didn't even know that the Peanut Corporation was making peanut butter and should have been inspected by someone who could see that their plant in Blakely, Georgia showed signs of mold and roaches under their leaky roof.

Their Plainview, Texas facility has the distinction of harboring rodents, rodent excrement, and bird feathers in a space above the production area. The Plainview operation had been certified as organic by the State of Texas Department of Agriculture in 2005. After the salmonella outbreak, the Department of Agriculture revoked the company's organic certification, while at the same discovering it lacked the required state health certificate.

If you're lucky enough not to eat their salmonella variety, you could sample their deluxe peanut butter that contained metal shards from the scrubbing equipment.

Parnell, The Murderer
Where is the outrage? Stewart Parnell, the president of the company, should be sentenced as a murderer for knowingly shipping contaminated peanut butter that killed and sickened people across the country. He should be treated like a hardened criminal and serve out the rest of his life in a maximum-security prison with others of his ilk. If he were living in China, he would have received a death sentence. Parnell's behavior is another example of classic American greed that is so common in our society today. Do anything you can to make money, even if it harms or kills other people. Peanut Corporation of America

Sadly for us citizens, the FDA does not have the authority, personnel, and funding to adequately insure the safety of food. That agency has the task of inspecting 80% of domestic and imported food products but only receives 24% of funds devoted to food safety. On the other hand, the USDA's role is to regulate meat and poultry for which they receive 76% of food safety money to inspect 20% of the food. Neither agency has the clout to demand a recall. Both must depend on voluntary recalls.

Meanwhile, what can citizens of this country do to prevent this type of atrocity? Vegetarians in Paradise suggests that we demand that Congress establish a National Food Safety Commission with adequate funding and personnel to perform thorough inspections of all food items, including meat and poultry, and with the authority to issue mandatory recalls of any products that endanger health. Any company that knowingly ships contaminated food should be forced to pay huge fines and the officers should receive lengthy prison terms. The proposed National Food Safety Commission would work closely with state organizations so that unsanitary companies like the Peanut Corporation of America would cease to exist. We have writtern a letter to President Obama, our two senators, and our congressman urging the need for a National Food Safety Commission. We would like to suggest our readers do that also.

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