ConAgra Resumes Making Pot Pies Following Recall, As Problems Reportedly Found at Plant that Made Salmonella Tainted Pies.Nov 15, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP
ConAgra Banquet Pot Pies are rolling off the assembly line again, just a month after they where recalled for causing an outbreak of Salmonella poisoning that sickened nearly 300 people in 35 states. But the same day that ConAgra celebrated this milestone, it was learned that US Department of Agriculture Inspectors (USDA) investigating the ConAgra Banquet Pot Pie Salmonella recall had found several deficiencies at the Missouri plant that produced the tainted pot pies.
ConAgra’s Banquet and store brand pot pies were first linked to dozens of cases of Salmonella poisoning throughout the country on October 9. That day, ConAgra issued a health alert about the Salmonella pot pie outbreak, warning consumers not to eat any of its 7-ounce store brand or Banquet Pot Pies with the codes “P-9” or “Est 1059” on the package. Despite the health alert, ConAgra did not recall the tainted Banquet pot pies. Instead, ConAgra tried to deflect blame for the Salmonella pot pies by claiming that consumers caused the outbreak by failing to cook the pies properly.
On October 11, ConAgra finally did issue a pot pie recall. The day prior to the recall announcement, media outlets reported that two state health officials from Minnesota and Oregon had formally requested that ConAgra officially recall the pies, but were rebuffed. Shortly after those reports circulated, ConAgra announced the pot pie recall. Included in the pot pie recall notice were all varieties of Banquet Pot Pies, as well as ConAgra-produced generic brand pot pies under the following labels: Albertson’s, Food Lion, Great Value, Hill Country Fare, Kirkwood, Kroger, Meijer and Western Family. The Salmonella contaminated pot pies were sold in all fifty states, as well as in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean Islands.
Today it was learned that the USDA found flaws with record keeping at the plant, as well as with ConAgra’s Hazard Analysis Critical Control plan that spells out what the company does to ensure product safety. The USDA did not elaborate on what those problems where, and said it would only do so if forced by a formal Freedom of Information Act Request. According to the USDA, ConAgra has corrected those deficiencies, and the government has no problem with ConAgra’s plan to resume pot pie production.
Neither ConAgra nor the USDA have been able to determine the source of Salmonella contamination in the Banquet Pot Pies. However, ConAgra said that it had implemented new testing procedures at the plant and with its ingredient suppliers to prevent further Salmonella contamination.
This is the second time this year that ConAgra has had to issue a large-scale product recall because of Salmonella dangers. In February, the company recalled its Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter after it was blamed for a Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 600 people in 47 states. The Salmonella contamination was blamed on a leaky roof and malfunctioning sprinkler system at ConAgra’s manufacturing facility in Sylvester, Georgia. The company only recently returned Peter Pan Peanut Butter to the market, just weeks prior to the Banquet Pot Pie Salmonella scare.