Peanut Corporation of America, the company shipping the Salmonella-tainted peanut paste that killed up to nine people and sickened hundreds, filed for bankruptcy Friday.
Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, said bankruptcy could shield the company from liability suits filed by victims of the outbreak. The agency called for tougher punishments and an overhaul of the Food and Drug Administration. Shipping tainted products is currently a misdemeanor under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
"It is unacceptable for corporations to put consumers' health at risk, and then simply declare bankruptcy and go out of business when they get caught," said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union, in a statement. "We must have an FDA that can oversee food processors so that unscrupulous behavior can be detected, prevented and deterred."
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---Samantha Maziarz Christmann