WASHINGTON (AP) - Salmonella problems were so common at a Georgia peanut plant that the company's owner seemingly shrugged them off in e-mails.
"I go thru this about once a week. ... I will hold my breath .......... again," Peanut Corp. of America president Stewart Parnell wrote last June.
The e-mail was in response to information from an employee about a positive test for the bacteria that may have killed nine and sickened 600 people. The outbreak has been traced to the company's Blakely, Ga., plant.
The company's unit in Plainview, Texas, has been shut down this week.
The document was among several released by U.S. House investigators today contradicting what little the company has said publicly about problems dating to 2006 at its Georgia plant.
Parnell's Oct. 6, 2008 e-mail to his Georgia plant manager Sammy Lightsey detailing a different positive test for salmonella in 441 cases of peanut granules, some of which had already been shipped out, concentrated on money, not safety.
Parnell and Lightsey refused to testify at the House hearing -- citing their constitutional right