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No Slowdown To Peanut Butter Recalls

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, January 26, 2009 1:18 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Salmonella, Peanut Butter, Food Borne Illness, Public Health, FDA, CDC

Peanut butter recalled items expand


IMAGE SOURCE:  CDC Epidemic Curve from Web page 


The list of recalled items that contain peanut butter or peanut paste keeps on growing and so does the death toll.

So far 491 people in 43 states have been sickened, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The death of an elderly woman in Minnesota over the weekend, brings the death toll to seven linked to the salmonella outbreak. 

It is difficult to tell from the outbreak whether it is beginning to wane or get stronger, as there is a reporting delay of two to three weeks from when a person becomes sick. 

To date, 15 clusters in five states have been reported in schools and other institutions that might use bulk peanut butter.  Among 14 clusters, King Nut peanut butter was used in those facilities. 

King Nut and Parnell’s Pride are the brand names of nut butters produced by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) at its Blakely, Georgia processing plant.

The FDA, CDC and health departments in Minnesota and Connecticut, have now confirmed that the sources of the outbreak of illnesses caused by Salmonella Typhimurium are peanut butter and peanut paste produced by PCA.  

The plant has shut down and laid-off most of its work force of about 50 after salmonella was found in a floor crack near the washroom and on the floor near some pallets.  

The company sells bulk containers ranging from five to 1,700 pounds. Neither size is sold directly to the public.

PCA did distribute its potentially contaminated product to more than 70 companies as ingredients in hundreds of cookies, crackers, cereal, candy, ice cream and dog biscuits.

The list of items recalled could make this the largest in U.S. history.  200 items are now on the recall list that the FDA changes daily. Check their site for the latest.

The FDA has created a searchable database for these products and the list is updated frequently. Newest additions include: 

  • Albertson’s grocery chain is pulling some dog biscuits due to possible salmonella contamination. Happy Tails multi-flavored biscuits were made with potentially contaminated peanut products. The biscuits were sold in eight states. Albertson’s says it is recalling the products “out of an abundance of caution.” The brand is also found at Jewel-Osco stores in the Midwest.

    A news release says pets infected with salmonella ‘may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain.”  The real fear is that animals could be carriers for the bacterial and infect humans or other animals.

  • Trader Joe’s Sliced Green Apples with all natural peanut butter contains some product manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). Trader Joe has also recalled granola bars and cookies, as announced in this press release.

  • Supreme Protein Peanut Butter Crunch Bars and Caramel Nut Bars are being recalled “out of an abundance of caution” because they too contain peanut paste from PCA.

Girls Scouts of America has issued a release saying that PCA does not supply peanut butter used in any Girl Scout cookies. 

And prominent brands such as Jif and Skippy have posted notices on their web sites that they do not purchase from PCA. 

The American Peanut Council, a trade group, reports the major brands that are not linked to the salmonella scare include ConAgra, Hershey, and Smucker. See a complete list on their web site. 

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12–72 hours after infection which can last up to seven days.

When severe infection occurs, Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. #

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