Federal inspectors were not given access to pest-control records and other information at the Danville, Va. plant that's at the center of the E. coli outbreak involving Toll House cookie dough. Hard to say whether those turn-downs played any role in the contamination because they go back a few years - and it's not out of line with how other plants respond to inspectors. As it turns out, companies aren't required to show those records to the FDA, which might tell you something about the clout of federal inspectors. That aside, the less-than-cooperative response from Glendale-based Nestlé USA - or at least from the plant - doesn't look good. From the WSJ:
David Elder, director of regional operations at the FDA's Office of Regulatory Affairs, said many food companies do open their records to inspectors. But the agency, he said, doesn't have explicit authority to access any records during regular food-safety inspections, with the exception of infant formula, seafood, juices and low-acid canned food. The FDA can inspect the records if it invokes a bioterrorism law and shows that the agency has "a reasonable belief" that the foods pose serious health threats -- a high bar to cross.
Good news for product liability attorneys, though. Several lawsuits have been filed over the tainted cookie dough (attorneyatlaw)