(NaturalNews) The Texas Department of State Health Services recently ordered Sangar Produce, a San Antonio-based produce processor, to cease operations and recall all of its bagged salads and cut up fruit and vegetable products. Authorities say the plant was contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, which may have been linked to the deaths of four people. But the company denies these claims, saying independent tests showed the plant to be clean.
According to Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the Texas health department, the state identified a link between the consumption of Sangar's chopped celery and ten cases of illness, four of which resulted in death. But Sangar president Kenneth Sanquist responded that there must have been a mistake.
"The independent testing shows our produce to be absolutely safe, and we are aggressively fighting the state's erroneous findings," Sanquist is quoted as saying in a recent CNN.com article.
Sanquist went on to say that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not had enough involvement in any actual inspections. Though not directly responsible for closing the plant down and ordering the recall, the FDA is assisting the Texas health department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the investigation.
According to the report, violations at the plant included a condensation leak, some dirt on a food preparation table, and inadequate hand washing. Though such violations are significant, the discrepancy between state and independent tests is highly suspect in the case.