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Dead rodents, excrement in peanut processor lead to recall

  • Story Highlights
  • Texas orders recall of products shipped from Peanut Corporation of America plant
  • Order applies to all products shipped since plant opened nearly four years ago
  • Order comes day after dead rodents, rodent excrement, bird feathers found in plant
  • Plant officials voluntarily stopped operations Monday night
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(CNN) -- The Texas Department of State Health Services on Thursday ordered the recall of all products ever shipped from the Peanut Corporation of America's plant in Plainview, Texas, after discovering dead rodents, rodent excrement and bird feathers in the plant.

The plant produced oil-roasted and dry-roasted peanuts, peanut meal and granulated peanut.

The plant produced oil-roasted and dry-roasted peanuts, peanut meal and granulated peanut.

The order, which applies to products shipped since the plant opened nearly four years ago, came a day after the discovery of filth in a crawl space above a production area during a health services inspection, Texas Health Department Press Officer Doug McBride told CNN in a telephone interview.

The plant's ventilation system pulled debris "from the infested crawl space into production areas of the plant resulting in the adulteration of exposed food products," a health department news release said.

Officials at the plant, which opened in March 2005 and produced oil-roasted peanuts, dry-roasted peanuts, peanut meal and granulated peanut, voluntarily stopped operations Monday night.

"Our understanding is that the bulk of their products go to other food manufacturers," McBride said. "We're not aware of any direct sales to consumers."

The state has the authority to stop a company's operations and order a recall if it finds "a condition that poses an immediate and serious threat to human life or health," as was the case here, he said.

Though tests are being carried out to determine if the products contain salmonella or other disease-causing organisms, the orders are not contingent on what is found, he said.

The plant is barred from resuming operations without health services approval.

The company's peanut butter and peanut paste products produced at its plant in Blakely, Georgia, have been linked to a nationwide outbreak of salmonella poisoning that has affected 600 people, killing nine.

A call to the company's telephone number, which was working earlier this week, elicited a recording that said it was no longer in service.

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