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January 29, 2009

Peanut Company Knew More Than They Let On

The peanut company linked to the recent salmonella outbreaks may have known about the contamination before their products were shipped.
According to the Pioneer Press, Peanut Corp. knowingly shipped contaminated peanut butter a total of 12 times over the past two years.
Health inspectors reported roach sightings, a leaky roof and mold amidst other health violations at the Georgia plant, reported the Star Tribune.
Peanut Corp. has now issued a recall that includes all peanut products manufactured since Jan. 1, 2007, which affects over a hundred different products ranging from ice cream to dog biscuits.
A lawyer who has been filing lawsuits against food companies for over 15 years said that he's never seen anything like it, while the peanut industry's trade group is also shocked.
“This apparent failure to follow food safety regulations must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.� Patrick Archer, the president of the American Peanut Council, told the Star Tribune in a statement.
Overall, the salmonella outbreak has killed eight people across the country, including three in Minnesota, while sickening another 500.
Georgia's agriculture commissioner has called for a criminal investigation of the company, but the Food and Drug Administration said that such a step is premature while its own investigation continues.

Burnsville Apartment Fire Reveals Tragedy

An apartment fire in Burnsville reveals a much more tragic tale. Two bodies were found inside the apartment, including its owner.
The Star Tribune reports that Adam Williams asphyxiated Brittany Givens-Copeland and then set his Burnsville apartment ablaze. Williams later died from smoke inhalation.
Williams was Givens-Copeland's ex-boyfriend. Givens-Copeland had a four-month old baby boy with her current boyfriend, Anthony Darst. Police investigators are calling the case a murder-suicide.
Darst told the Pioneer Press, “She was going over there to tell him that we were going to get back together. She was going to work things out with me. We were working things out. She wanted to tell him in person.�
Givens-Copeland had dated Williams for two months in early 2008, but he ended the relationship when she learned she was carrying Darst's child.
The Pioneer Press reports that Williams had trouble with the law earlier this year. On Aug. 16, Hennepin county charged him with two misdemeanors—disorderly conduct and failing to comply with a peace officer.
Williams pleaded guilty to failing to comply and was placed on a years probation with a $200 fine. The disorderly conduct charge was dropped.
The Pioneer Press stated that friends of Williams remember him as a “kind-hearted person� with a “positive outlook.�
Friends of the two deceased have set up Facebook pages to remember their lives.