A widespread and ongoing case of salmonella has been growing in 39 states since August of last year. The culprit of the nearly 300 cases of Salmonella poisoning has been found to be two brands of tainted peanut butter. The FDA released a statement February 14, 2007 that warned consumers not to eat certain jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter or Great Value Peanut Butter.
The affected jars have a product code in the lid that begins with the numbers “2111”. The reason both brands are being singled out is because they are manufactured in the same Georgia facility by ConAgra Foods. Great Value is also manufactured by other companies, but only the jar containing the “2111” product code are thought to be affected. The FDA believes the jars may have been purchased as far back as May 2006, and are asking all consumers to discard the jars if found.
This is thought to be the first salmonella outbreak that has been caused by the consumption of peanut butter. So far there have been 288 people infected and 20 percent have been hospitalized; fortunately none have died. The CDC has concluded that approximately 85 percent of the infected people remember consuming peanut butter.
As a safety measure, ConAgra has decided to recall all Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter beginning with the product code “2111”. So far the largest number of cases has been reported in New York, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Virginia.
“Although none of our extensive product tests have indicated the presence of salmonella, we are taking this precautionary measure because consumer health and safety is out top priority,” Chris Kircher, spokesman for ConAgra said. “We are working closely with the FDA to better understand its concerns, and we will take whatever additional measures are needed to ensure the safety, quality and wholesomeness of our products.”
According to the CDC, salmonella infects around 40,000 people in the United States every year. Out of the 40.000 people that are infected, the disease kills approximately 600 every year. Some symptoms of salmonella may be diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, dehydration, and fever.
Even though the outbreak surfaced in August of 2006, two or less cases have been reported almost daily. It wasn’t until recently that the CDC was able to narrow down the correct product and single it out. However, according to the FDA, ConAgra is taking another step beyond the national recall. The company will also destroy all of the infected products they may still have on hand. They also plan to cease production until they can find the exact cause of the contamination.
The FDA will continue to provide more information as it arises. If consumers have questions, they may call ConAgra at 1-866-344-6970.
-FDA online. http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2007/NEW01563.html. (2007Feb14).
-Fox News Online. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,252061,00.html. AP. (2007Feb15).