This last recall was vast, and the outbreak deadly. By early January 2009, the FDA had linked a deadly salmonella outbreak to a Georgia plant belonging to Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), and the company immediately ordered a recall. Since the initial recall, another PCA plant in Texas was implicated and the number of recalled products amounted to more than 2,000 [source: Cook].
In addition to being among the largest recalls ever, it's also been one of the most dramatic. A criminal investigation into the outbreak has been uncovering startling evidence that PCA might have knowingly shipped products after salmonella tests came back positive, and in other cases, after retests came up negative or before test results came back at all [source: Schmit]. Whether that's true or not, the resulting outbreak has caused nine deaths and more than 600 cases of illness [source: Cook].
PCA has permanently closed down as a result. But like other devastating recalls, innocent companies have had to bear the initial costs. Kellogg has reported losing $70 million, and other smaller companies are struggling to survive -- the manufacturer Forward Foods filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy [source: Newsday].
After inspecting a list like this, it's never been clearer that history repeats itself. But it's also testament to how incredibly complex the food production and distribution systems have become in the modern world.
For more interesting lists, browse the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- AP. "Chain With Tainted Burgers Offers to Pay Hospital Bills." New York Times. Feb. 1, 1993.
- Barboza, David. "China detains head of gluten export company." International Herald Tribune. May 3, 2007. (Feb. 27, 2009) http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/05/03/business/food.php
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- Martin, Andrew. "Largest Recall of Ground Beef is Ordered." New York Times. Feb. 18, 2008. (Feb. 27, 2009) http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/18/business/18recall.html?_r=1&ref=us%22The%20recall%20by%20the
- Nash, Kim. "How to Turn the Tide." CIO. Nov. 15, 2007. Vol. 21, No. 4. (Feb. 27, 2009) http://books.google.com/books?id=YgoAAAAAMBAJ
- Nestle, Marion. "Safe Food." University of California Press, 2003. (Feb. 27, 2009) http://books.google.com/books?id=QpDSzP-UU3gC
- Neusner, Noam. "Tyson buys Hudson for $642.4 million." BNet. The Journal Record. Sept. 5, 1997. (Feb. 27, 2009) http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4182/is_19970905/ai_n10112966
- New York Times. "Listeria Fear Forces Recall of Hot Dogs." New York Times. March 26, 2000. (Feb. 25, 2009) http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9F07E1DA103DF935A15750C0A9669C8B63
- Newsday. "Peanut Corp. tells all customers to stop distribution." Newsday. Feb. 22, 2009. http://www.newsday.com/services/newspaper/printedition/sunday/health/ny-hssalm226045012feb22,0,4587293.story
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- Schmit, Julie. "Changes spurred by last fall's E. coli outbreak in fresh spinach." BNet. USA TODAY. Sept. 2007. (Feb. 27, 2009) http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_kmusa/is_200709/ai_n20513529
- Schmit, Julie. "Impact of meat recall beginning to show." USA Today. April 8, 2008. (Feb. 27, 2009) http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2008-03-30-meat-recall_N.htm
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- USDA. "California Firm Recalls Beef Products Derived From Non-ambulatory Cattle Without the Benefit of Proper Inspection." United States Department of Agriculture. Feb. 17, 2008. (Feb. 27, 2009) http://www.fsis.usda.gov/pdf/recall_005-2008_Release.pdf
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