The Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) plant at the centre of the US salmonella outbreak shipped out products managers knew might have been contaminated without waiting for lab test results, according to reports.

Health officials for the US Food and Drug Administration told Reuters on Friday (6 February) that they have amended their inspection report of the plant after it became clear the company had not waited for testing to confirm the problem had been fixed.

Michael Rogers, the FDA's director of the division of field investigation, told Reuters the investigators found "certain information provided during the investigation was not consistent with their original analysis of the records".

Rogers said the amended report "identifies that, in some instances, peanut products were shipped by PCA prior to having assurance that the products were negative for salmonella. In some instances, that included the shipment of products prior to any test result being officially received by the firm".

To date, some 575 people in 43 US states have been infected with the outbreak strain of salmonella. Eight deaths have also been linked to the outbreak, while one person has also been taken ill in Canada.

A day previous to the latest FDA announcement, PCA moved to defend its hygiene record.

In a statement, PCA said that throughout 2008 its Blakely, Georgia, production facility passed state and federal inspections as well as independent audits.

"We want the public to know that there were regular visits and inspections of the Blakely facility by federal and state regulators in 2008. Independent audit and food safety firms also conducted customary unannounced inspections," PCA said.

The company attacked the media coverage of the recall, stating that reporting of the salmonella outbreak had been "confusing" and "misleading".