from the Office of State Senator Craig Estes, District 30

For Immediate Release
March 2, 2009
Contact: Jody Withers
(512) 463-0130

Estes to investigate salmonella outbreak

Austin — State Senator Craig Estes (R-Wichita Falls) said he intends to have the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee investigate the recent outbreak of salmonella at a Texas peanut company operating without a state license or inspections.

"I'm not interested in playing the blame game," said Estes, who is chairman of the committee. "My interest is getting to the bottom of what went wrong, and how do we make sure it doesn't happen again."

Estes said the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee would begin its overview by focusing on three main areas. First, how did this company operate so long without sufficient oversight, and how do we prevent this from happening again? Second, what exactly caused the salmonella outbreak? And, third, how can we determine if there are other Texas plants operating without proper inspections?

"I believe that the food we produce and process is fundamentally safe, but we need to reassure the public that they can trust the Texas products we buy," said Estes. "An isolated instance like this can reverberate throughout an industry, and the best course of action is to face the problem head-on and get all the facts out."

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Peanut Corporation of America facility in Plainview has been closed since February 9. All products associated with this facility are currently under recall.

Senator Estes is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and represents Senate District 30 covering Archer, Baylor, Clay, Collin (part), Cooke, Denton (part), Grayson, Jack, Montague, Parker, Palo Pinto, Shackelford, Stephens, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, Wise, and Young counties.

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