After killing eight, peanut products get Congress' attention
After contaminated peanut butter from a
Georgia food plant killed eight people and sickened another 550, angry federal
legislators on Thursday demanded action, dpa
"I'd like to see some people go to jail," Senator Patrick Leahy demanded during a Senate agricultural committee hearing.
His remarks came amidst a general probe of food safety, but brought the spotlight once again on an issue brewing for weeks over salmonella-tainted peanut products from the Virginia-based Peanut Corporation of America.
The problems have been traced to its plant in Blakely, Georgia.
On Monday, President Barack Obama urged a "complete review" of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the agency failed to prevent the contamination that has caused one of the largest recalls of US food in history.
More than 800 peanut products have been recalled, and the list is growing.
Consumers have been reassured that supermarket peanut butter brands were not affected.
But cookies, crackers, cereal and other products that use peanut butter and paste are on the list, according to the FDA.
The FDA has said the company continued shipping peanut butter products after tests in 2007 and 2008 showed salmonella was present. A criminal investigation of the company was opened on January 30.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a staple of the American diet, especially for children's school lunches.
"At a bare minimum, we should be able to count on our government keeping our kids safe when they eat peanut butter," Obama said. "That's what Sasha eats for lunch."
Sasha is his 7-year-old daughter.