The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Basic Food Flavors "continued to make and distribute food ingredients for about a month after it learned the bacteria salmonella was present at its processing facility, according to a Food and Drug Administration report."
The recall of products containing hydrolyzed vegetable protein, announced last week involves more than 100 food items. To date, no illnesses have been conclusively associated with the recalled food items. WSJ also reported on the FDA inspection of the Basic Food Flavors’ plant:
FDA officials inspected Basic Food’s plant for about two weeks starting in mid-February and found the company didn’t adequately clean equipment and store foods to protect against the growth of contaminants such as salmonella, according to the inspection report.
The inspectors noted that "light-brown residue" and "dark-brown liquid" was observed on or around where Basic Food makes flavor-enhancing ingredients used in foods. The inspectors said brown residue was also found in a plastic pipe used in making food ingredients.
The scenario – ignoring positive tests for a dangerous pathogen- is disturbingly similar to the events that lead to the PCA Salmonella outbreak last year. That outbreak, though, led to over 700 confirmed illnesses and 9 deaths. PCA officials reportedly continued to ship product despite multiple positive product tests for Salmonella.