Peanut plant sealed by Feds

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

Blakley, GA (WALB) - The Peanut Corporation of America plant is sealed off by federal authorities as both the FBI and FDA investigate.

Around 11:00, more than a dozen agents entered the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely as part of the criminal investigation of the plant.

The facility was shut down January ninth when the FDA identified the plant as the source of the Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 500 nationwide.

Natalie Wilkerson

A set of bolt cutters and black brief cases where wheeled into the Peanut Corporation of America plant just after eleven. Not long after a trailer and vehicles made their way through the gate to the rear of the plant. For some in Blakely the FBI is a welcome sight.

Around 12:30 two congressional investigators from the Energy and Commerce committee arrived and after a few pictures made their way into the plant, only to return an hour later with not much to say.

Some worry what the FBI's presence at the plant will do to an industry as important as peanuts in Blakely.

"Peanuts are very, very important here in our area, plus my husband farms and we do farm peanuts," said Angel Mathis.

The FDA on Friday said the plant knowingly shipped out product from this facility even though it tested positive for Salmonella before any retesting was done. The FBI won't tell us whether they will be back again tomorrow or if this was a one day operation.

The Senate Agriculture Committee is scheduled to consider a measure next Monday that will require food makers to alert state inspectors within a day of internal tests that show food contaminants.

It also would force the companies to conduct the tests at least once a year.