Sangar Fresh Cut Produce does not want the "Sangar listeria outbreak in Texas" to be called the "Sangar listeria outbreak." In fact, Sangar says the State of Texas Department of Health got it all wrong when it found listeria in Sangar’s products. Sangar President Kenneth Sanquist says that
"The state’s claim that some of our produce now fails to meet health standards directly contradicts independent testing that was conducted on the same products. This independent testing shows our produce to be absolutely safe, and we are aggressively fighting the state’s erroneous findings."
Notably, however, yesterday’s order from Texas Department of State Health Services was for the company to "stop processing food and recall all products shipped from the plant since January." This is not an ordinary action; health departments are generally not in the business of shutting businesses down, even if temporarily, without a good reason to do so.
Here, the presence of listeria (albeit disputed) in Sangar celery products, coupled with apparent epidemiological links between Sangar products and a number of the confirmed listeria illnesses or deaths, and finally with environmental problems identified at Sangar’s facilties, has me a little dubious whether Sangar’s claim that everything is fine will be proved true.
Time will tell–that is, as soon as our freedom of information requests to the State of Texas are responded to so that we can examine the viability of the testing for ourselves.