This morning the papers are reporting for the second time that all products from the PCA Texas plant are being recalled. I say second time because officials in Texas had previously announced such a recall on February 12.
So, what's up with that? It appears to me that some food manufacturers, knowing that they had purchased from PCA in Texas, stepped up in the days following the initial recall and called back product. Others, it seems clear, waited. The questions is Why?
My assumption is that many food makers waited because the legal authority of Texas officials ends in Texas. So without pressure or a public announcement from the FDA, or from officials in their own states, they sat on their hands.
Meanwhile, in Texas, state officials were apparently waiting for PCA to step up, open their records, and start contacting their customers. PCA, in bankruptcy, had no reason to do that, and maybe under the bankruptcy laws have been prevented from doing so.
Meanwhile, the FDA was indeed following up with manufacturers who purchased from the Texas plant and goading those who had into issuing recalls. But the public did not know about this, because the agency never issued a public statement or updated its web site to indicate in any way that they were following up on the Texas recall.
I found out last Friday. A supplier who had earlier assured us in a letter that it had purchased no product from the Blakely, Georgia PCA plant issued a press release recalling two products made with peanuts from the Texas plant. We spotted this soon after it was posted on the FDA's site.
We immediately pulled the one product we had purchased (bulk milk chocolate peanuts) from our retail stores and secured our inventory. I then called our local FDA office and our regional FDA recall coordinator in Detroit. By the end of the day we had our own press release out, which hit the Michigan media around 5 PM.
With the new announcement things might start moving a bit faster, but more than a week has been lost.