Lab owner says disregard of test results is 'virtually unheard of'

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A laboratory owner is accusing a Georgia peanut company of ignoring test results identifying salmonella in its product.

The lab owner is among those called to testify today before a House panel looking into the salmonella outbreak linked to hundreds of illnesses and eight deaths.

In prepared testimony, Charles Deibel (DY'-behl) says his company was among those that tested products from Peanut Corp. of America, and that it notified the company's Georgia plant that salmonella was found in some of its peanut stock.

According to a government inspection report, Peanut Corp. sold the products anyway.

Internal e-mails obtained by the panel indicate that the company's owner urged his workers to ship the products because he was worried about lost sales.

Deibel says the company's disregard for those tests is "virtually unheard of" in the nation's food industry. He says it should bring efforts to increase federal oversight of product safety.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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