Jay Beattie, left, owner of the Cucina Fresca gourmet pasta company in Seattle, and pasta-maker Iriam Lopez, right, package egg Linguine into plastic trays Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2005. Of all the raw materials which have seen price hikes as a result of the devastating hurricanes in the South, few have been as sharp as the rise in prices in the plastic industry. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
A state canvass has found 355 companies that appear to be producing and selling food products without required state licenses.
The Dallas Morning News reports the Texas Department of State Health Services launched the statewide crackdown on unlicensed food purveyors last year. Department spokeswoman Carrie Williams says many of the companies were small firms unaware that they needed a state license and, "for the most part, they have been more than willing to get into compliance." No fines have been levied for unsanitary conditions.
The search came after a Peanut Corporation of America plant in Plainview was found to have operated for four years without required safety inspections. That went unnoticed until a sister plant in Georgia was found to have shipped tainted peanut butter.