Peanut Butter Snack Items Recalled Due to Salmonella Health Risk
State Health Department Urges Consumer Caution
As part of the ongoing nationwide salmonella outbreak investigation and to underscore the importance of using caution when eating peanut butter products, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) is issuing a warning to the public to avoid consuming all products in which peanut butter is an ingredient. These products may be contaminated with Salmonella, a family of bacteria which can cause gastrointestinal illness in healthy persons that varies in severity, but can create serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
As of January 16, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 474 persons from 43 states have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella, with Missouri now reporting nine cases. State and local health officials are continuing to investigate the outbreak, and are conducting effectiveness checks in grocery and convenience stores to assure that recalled products have been removed from sale.
Illnesses reported in the outbreak have been associated with products made by Peanut Corporation of America, a firm that sells peanut butter for institutional use and to other food processors for use as an ingredient in other products. No peanut butter in jars sold at grocery stores is currently involved in the current recalls. Further, no other food products appear to be involved in this outbreak, though the investigation is ongoing and other foods could be included at any time.
The types of products involved in the nationwide recall include peanut butter cookies, candy and snack crackers; a complete listing of specific products currently being recalled can be found at the Food and Drug Administration’s website at www.fda.gov. As the investigation continues and more products are identified as being potentially linked to the outbreak, this list of recalled products will more than likely expand, so consumers should continue to check the list for recalled products.
Consumers should follow these recommendations to help protect against salmonella poisoning and to help limit the outbreak:
· Do not eat products that have been recalled and throw them away in a manner that prevents others from eating them.
· Postpone eating other peanut butter containing products (such as cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream) until information becomes available about whether that product may be affected.
· Persons who think they may have become ill from eating peanut butter are advised to consult their health care providers.
We also advise institutions like schools, hospitals, cafeterias, correctional facilities and the like to check with the supplier of their peanut butter to see if it may have been manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America, if so discontinue use of these products.
Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
For more information, contact your local public health agency or click on www.cdc.gov.