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posted on January 28, 2009 11:18

   

Idaho health officials urge Idahoans to check their shelves for peanut butter-containing products that may be implicated in a multistate outbreak of Salmonella serotype Typhimurium. Jars of peanut butter purchased at grocery stores have not been associated with this outbreak and are safe to eat. 

“At this time, we advise the public to avoid eating any of the over 350 recalled products containing peanut butter,” says Dr. Randall Nett, epidemiologist. “Anyone who thinks they may have become ill from eating food containing peanut butter is advised to consult a health care provider.”

Two additional Idahoans have been sickened with Salmonella from eating peanut butter-containing products since officials first announced that peanut paste manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) may be a possible source of the outbreak. A total of 13 Idahoans have become ill with the strain of Salmonella since last fall, including a man over 50 in whom the infection may have contributed to his death.

Although most people infected with Salmonella recover without treatment, severe infections may require hospitalizations and lead to complications, especially for infants, elderly people, and those with impaired immune systems.

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12–72 hours after infection. Infection is usually diagnosed by culture of a stool sample. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. 

 

Nationwide, over 500 infections and 6 deaths from 43 states and Canada have been reported. Idaho health officials are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the FDA, and other states to investigate the source of these infections.

 

While the outbreak appears to be slowing, health officials are concerned that Idahoans may continue to eat contaminated products due to the large number of recalled peanut butter-containing products implicated and the relatively long shelf life of many of these products. Officials believe the outbreak may be attributed to contaminated peanut paste manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) that was used in the making of King Nut Peanut Butter and sold to other manufacturers for use in hundreds of other peanut butter-containing products.

 

Currently, over 350 products have been recalled, including Austin’s and Keebler brand peanut butter crackers. King Nut peanut butter and Austin’s brand peanut butter crackers tested positive for the outbreak Salmonella strain.

 

The peanut butter distributed by King Nut Companies is not sold directly to consumers and is not found in grocery stores. The company has issued a voluntary recall for the product distributed under its label as well as Parnell’s Pride peanut butter.

 

Consumers can search for recalled peanut butter products on the FDA website http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/index.cfm.