Wednesday, February 11, 2009

El Manisero

Too bad there isn't a tune "The Salmonella Vendor" (there could be soon), for it there were, Stewart Parnell, owner of the Peanut Corporation of America could have played that in Congress today, instead of hiding behind the 5th Amendment.

Then again, he's already got 9 dead, and another 600, or so, sick, on his tab, therefore, legally, his reticence to speak is not abstruse.

However, the ethical and moral end of it?

No way Jose!

There's an old saw that says never trust someone, say a restaurant owner, that won't eat in his own joint.

"Did you or any officials ever place food products into inner state commerce you knew to be contaminated with salmonella?" asked Rep. Bart Stupak, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

"Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, on advice of my counsel, I respectively decline to answer your questions based on the protections afforded me under the U.S. Constitution," said Parnell.

Moments later, as Parnell sat stiffly, his hands folded in his lap at the witness table, as Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., held up a clear jar of his company's products wrapped in crime-scene tape and asked if he would eat them.

Again, Parnell invoked the Fifth Amendment.

After he repeated the statement several times, lawmakers dismissed him from the hearing.

This Parnell guy - a Bushie!

From Wikipedia;
Parnell served on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Peanut Standards Board, which sets quality and handling standards for peanuts.[47] He was first appointed by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns to the position in 2005,[51], and was reappointed for another term that expires in 2011.[47] On February 5, 2009 the USDA announced that the new Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had removed Parnell from the board.[46][11][48]
And much like a Bushie;
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Peanut Corp. and trouble aren't strangers."[2] The company was sued by American Candy Co. after the FDA discovered in 1990 that PCA's peanut butter exceeded the FDA tolerance level for aflatoxin, a toxic mold product. American Candy had turned the peanut butter into 8,000 cases of Kisses for Wal-Mart, which were not shipped. Another lawsuit was brought by Zachary Confections Inc. of Frankfort, Indiana in 1991 after a 40,020-pound shipment of nuts from PCA was found to have an unacceptably high level of aflatoxin.[2]

Hmmm ... I wonder if he was using any of Halliburton's dirty water to wash the peanuts ...

This Parnell guy knew - there are a trail of emails - that he was putting out bad, tainted product and went ahead with it just the same.
Despite more than 12 tests between 2007 and 2008 that showed salmonella contamination in his company’s products, Parnell wrote an e-mail to company employees on Jan 12 that stated, "we have never found any salmonella at all." After the company was identified as the source of the outbreak, Parnell sent an e-mail to officials at the FDA pleading with them to allow the company to continue doing business. He wrote that they "desperately at least need to turn the raw peanuts on our floor into money."[36]

Now, I never went for - never - those god-awful, day-glo orange crackers, with a dollop of peanut butter in them.

(Probably, for the past 15+ years, I've opted for the natural peanut butter, you know, the kind that comes with all the oil at the top, to which you have to stir it in to the peanut butter for about five-to-six-hours to achieve total smoothness and then, assuming you can still use your arm, with a cold glass of milk, and fresh Syrian bread - perfection!)

So, I think, I'm safe.

One would think, this Parnell guy, shelled his last peanut, and will be looking at some decent jail time, down-the-road.

In the meantime, he should be hauled back into Congress, let him keep mumbling the 5th, but they should have the Sargent-at-Arms force-feed Parnell his own product.

Even if it doesn't turn those raw peanuts on his floor into money.

Bonus Links

Peanut boss refuses to testify at salmonella hearing

US: Plant Shipped Tainted Products, F.D.A. Says

Problems Coming in All Varieties for Peanut Corp. of America

Fallout Widens as Buyers Shun Peanut Butter

Top Ten Cloves: Ways Spinach Industry Plans To Overcome E. Coli Setback

Bonus Bonus

We couldn't title this post "El Manisero" (or "The Peanut Vendor") without giving you the tune.

Being the legendary classic that it is, so many to choose from ...

Stan Kenton - The Peanut Vendor

Here's a good Prez Prado version

Another, a vocal by Antonio Machín

And, for something of a different color, a Ska version, by The Skatalites

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