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GMA Statement Regarding Expansion of Peanut Corporation of America Recall

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) recall of peanut butter and peanut paste manufactured after July 1, 2008, has been expanded to include all whole peanuts (dry, roasted or raw), granulated peanuts, peanut meal, peanut butter and peanut paste produced at its Blakely, Georgia plant after January 1, 2007.

It is important for consumers to know several important facts:

-PCA does not sell peanut butter or peanut products directly to consumers.

-National brands of jarred peanut butter are not affected by the PCA recall.

-Many products that contain peanuts, peanut butter or peanut products are not affected by this recall, and are safe to consume, as manufacturers of those products do not buy ingredients from PCA.

-PCA manufactures just 1 percent of peanut products sold in the United States.

Some food manufacturers may use PCA peanut products in baked or processed foods, such as crackers, cookies, cakes or ice cream to name a few. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and food manufacturers are working to identify products that may be affected, to track the ingredient supply chain of those products and to take the appropriate action to remove them from the marketplace.

Consumers who are concerned about specific products should contact the manufacturer via the toll free phone number on the package or by visiting the manufacturer Web site. Or, they can visit the FDA Web site at www.fda.gov.

Despite this recall, the United States continues to enjoy one of the safest food supplies in the world, and food safety is the number one priority for food and beverage manufacturers. However, GMA and its member companies continually strive to improve the safety and security of the food supply.

For the past 18 months, GMA has advocated strengthening America’s food safety system to put the teeth back in the FDA, America’s food safety watchdog. Those reforms will also help prevent problems before they arise, modernize our food safety net and significantly increase the odds of identifying bad actors, like PCA.

It is time to enact meaningful reforms that will better protect consumers by:

-Increasing FDA funding to $900 million per year, so the agency can hire more scientific experts, increase the number of inspectors and modernize its laboratory and information technology systems.

-Requiring every food and beverage manufacturer to conduct a food safety risk analysis that identifies potential sources of contamination, identifies appropriate food safety controls, and documents those controls in a food safety plan.

-Requiring manufacturers to police their foreign suppliers by implementing a foreign supplier food safety plan and by building the food safety capacities of foreign governments.

-Establishing federal agricultural and food safety standards for certain fruits and vegetables.

-Adopting a food safety approach to inspections so that resources are spent on the foods and facilities that pose the greatest threat.

-Permitting mandatory recall authority for the FDA in instances where a company has refused to conduct a voluntary recall.

We look forward to working with Congress and the Obama Administration to enact these reforms as quickly as possible.