According to the Centers for Disease Control the number of states affected by the E. Coli outbreak caused by the SoyNut Butter peanut substitute is now 12 as it includes Florida.
On Thursday, the FDA close down the Kentucky-based producer of the infected product, Dixie Dew Products, after finding inspection violations including pipes dripping into food kettles and no hot water or soap for food handlers to wash their hands.
Dixie Dew produces products for organic food companies so there could be more recalls.
Bill Marler, a food safety attorney handling four of the five lawsuits filed by E. coli victims in this outbreak said “This inspection report reads far worse than the 483’s from the Peanut Corp of America (Salmonella – over 700 sick with nine deaths – 28-year prison sentence for owner) or Peter Pan (Salmonella – over 700 sick – $11 million fine). I got court orders to go into both of those plants and am working on doing the same here. What a mess.”
On Thursday, the CDC put the numbers at 29 infected people in 12 states. Single cases in Florida, Illinois and Massachusetts put them on a list with Oregon (nine), California (five), Arizona (four), Washington (two), Virginia (two), Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey and Wisconsin (one each).
However, E. coli can take two to three weeks to develop, so these infection statistics go only until March 13.
U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said in a e-mailed statement “While the FDA made the right decision in shutting down the Dixie Dew plant, the agency should take another step forward and reverse its policy of withholding the names and locations of stores and schools where recalled food products are sold.
As we have seen with Dixie Dew, it is irresponsible and insufficient to rely on the good faith of food corporations to provide all the necessary recall information. Americans deserve to know these details to ensure their health and safety.”
The FDA inspected Dixie Dew’s Erlanger, Kentucky, facility seven times from March 3-15 but it didn’t reveal the food producer as the maker of the soy butter before the shut-down.
On Tuesday, the FDA issued a Suspension of Food Facility Registration Order.
On Thursday, the FDA issued the following announcement: “The Suspension Order applies to the entire facility. While the order is in effect, no food product may leave the facility for sale or distribution. The FDA will reinstate Dixie Dew’s food facility registration only when the agency determines that adequate grounds do not exist to continue the suspension of registration.”