Yakima's Snokist blamed for mold sickness

Yakima's Snokist  blamed for mold sickness »Play Video
YAKIMA -- A local fruit canning company here in Yakima is going to great lengths to regain customer trust after being blamed for nine kids getting sick from moldy apple sauce.

Managers at the Snokist plant on Terrace Heights did something they haven't done in years -- invited our cameras inside. They wanted to clear up any questions about the safety measures being taken to make sure the food they put in cans is clean.

The visit to the Snokist plant was no ordinary press invitation. Snokist had a point to prove about public trust and safety.

Earlier this year, the company was accused of making nine kids sick after they ate moldy Snokist applesauce at school. The company blames dents found in those cans for breaking the seal, allowing air inside and creating the mold.

Snokist says with more than 600,000 cans come out of the plant everyday. It's easy to see how a few dented one's could get out unnoticed, but Snokist says there's plenty of blame to go around. They also point to school food workers.

“If there was a compromised can just like at home if you opened it you could visually see something was wrong with it you could definitely wouldn't serve it to school kids," said Jim Davis with Snokist.

He says any mold in the applesauce would be visible. The FDA investigated the incident and Snokist voluntarily recalled its products back in May even thought it was never confirmed that the applesauce caused the illness, but the company understands parents like Yakima's Sally Pierone want answers when their kid’s safety is at risk.

"You expect when you go to the store to buy something that whatever is on the shelf you can take it home and fee your child,” she said. “You don't think you have to look at it to make sure it's good or not moldy or outdated."

After the mold was discovered, the feds found that Snokist needed to do more at this facility to protect against the presence of mold in the future and Snokist agreed to add the testing to its processing.

"It's extremely important given that it's micro-toxin that we test for botulins and under our new policy we will do that going forward," Davis said.

Plant managers say they are now checking every batch of applesauce that goes out to make sure it's safe to eat when it gets to your child's school.

The recall on Snokist products has been removed and the company says it will continue to comply with all FDA requests.