The plant in Georgia that produced peanut butter tainted by salmonella has a history of sanitation lapses and was cited repeatedly in 2006 and 2007 for having dirty surfaces and grease residue and dirt buildup throughout the plant, according to health inspection reports. Inspection reports from 2008 found the plant repeatedly in violation of cleanliness standards.
Inspections of the plant in Blakely, Ga., by the State Agriculture Department found areas of rust that could flake into food, gaps in warehouse doors large enough for rodents to get through, unmarked spray bottles and containers and numerous violations of other practices designed to prevent food contamination. The plant, owned by the Peanut Corporation of America of Lynchburg, Va., has been shut down.
The state performs the inspections on behalf of the Food and Drug Administration as part of a contractual agreement with the federal agency.
The salmonella outbreak has sickened almost 500 people around the country and is linked to seven deaths. More than 125 products containing peanut butter or peanut paste from the Georgia plant have been recalled.
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