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China bans contaminated US peanut products

CHINA has banned the import of contaminated peanut products after a salmonella outbreak in the United States has been linked to eight deaths.

Eleven food companies recalled their contaminated peanut butter and products, Beijing Times reported.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has ordered domestic importers to stop selling products from those companies and recall all contaminated products. It also banned mailing or carrying the products into China.

A salmonella outbreak spawned one of the US largest product recalls. Federal inspectors found cockroaches, mold, a leaking roof and other sanitation problems in a Georgia peanut plant.

Managers at the Blakely plant owned by Peanut Corp of America continued shipping peanut products even after they discovered they were contaminated with salmonella.

Peanut Corp has recalled all peanut products produced at the plant since January 1, 2007. The company is relatively small, but its peanut paste is used in hundreds of other food products, including ice-cream, Asian-style sauces and dog biscuits. Major national brands of peanut butter are not affected.

More than 500 people have become ill in the outbreak and at least eight have died. More than 400 products have already been recalled. The plant has stopped production.

The latest recall covers peanut butter, peanut paste, peanut meal and granulated products, as well as all peanuts - dry and oil roasted - shipped from the factory.

US Food and Drug Administration inspectors reported that salmonella was found at least 12 times in products made at the plant, but the company never cleaned its production lines after internal tests showed contamination. Products that initially tested positive were retested. When the company got a negative reading, it shipped the products.

That happened as recently as September. A month later, health officials started picking up signs of the outbreak.


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