As you will recall, just two years ago the CDC was wrapping up one of the largest Salmonella outbreak investigations in history. Researchers published a summary of that investigation in the New England Journal of Medicine last month. Tainted peanut butter from Peanut Corporation of America plants in Georgia and Texas was behind the Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 700 and killed nine in early 2009.
The CDC started its investigation by tracing back the products the patients had eaten, and where they ate the products. The investigation was challenging since the peanut butter paste was used in multiple products. But they say the process highlighted gaps in the food safety system that they are now working to fix. A program was started called Food Core that allows for rapid identification of sick people. This will allow CDC officials to start investigations much sooner. Peanut Corporation of America, which has since filed for bankruptcy, paid out $12 million in settlements with those who were sickened by their products.
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