Here we go again!  Peanut butter is once again being implicated as the source of a major samlonella outbreak in the US (Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter were the implicated sources in the previous outbreak).

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) today issued a product advisory after MDA’s preliminary laboratory testing indicated the presence of Salmonella bacteria in a 5-pound container of King Nut brand creamy peanut butter.

The product is distributed in Minnesota to establishments such as long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools, universities, restaurants, delis, cafeterias and bakeries. At this time, the product is not known to be distributed for retail sale in grocery stores. State officials are urging establishments who may have the product on hand to avoid serving it, pending further instructions as the investigation progresses.

Eating food contaminated with Salmonella can result in abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and fever. Anyone who believes they may have become ill as a result of eating this product or foods made with this product should contact their health care provider.

State officials discovered the contamination as a result of product testing initiated after an MDH epidemiological investigation implicated King Nut creamy peanut butter as a likely source of Salmonella infections in Minnesota residents. The Minnesota cases have the same genetic fingerprint as the cases in the national outbreak that has sickened almost 400 people in 42 states; however, laboratory results for the product sample have not yet been linked to this national outbreak. Additional laboratory results are expected early next week.

State officials are coordinating their investigation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other states. More information about the investigation – including laboratory results will be available early next week.

  • Mark

    I worked at King nut that peanut butter was not made in house

  • Byron Reed

    At some point the product is post pasteurized contaminated or the initial load is too high for the process as designed. Has any investigation of the plant in question been scheduled?

  • Bob

    What is the liability for a company that distributes, rather than manufactures tainted food?

  • Colin

    Great question, Bob.
    Generally a food manufacturer is strictly liable for injuries caused by a defective product it manufactured. Strict liability refers to liability without fault. In other words, if a company manufactures a product that is defective (ie. contaminated), and the product is used in the manner in which it was designed and intended (in this case, to be eaten), and using it causes injury, then the manufacturer is liable. Period. Just remember PRODUCT + DEFECT + CAUSATION + INJURY = LIABILITY.
    A distributor, on the other hand, would likely fall under the negligence standard of duty, breach, causation (foreseeability), and injury.
    Interestingly, the term “manufacturer” is defined rather broadly under most states’ statutes to include a seller who designs, produces, makes, fabricates, constructs, or remanufacturers. Therefore, for example, a company who does something as seemingly minute as putting their own label on a product can be considered a manufacturer.

  • el don

    Northern Michigan and Gordon Food Service (GFS), who manufacturers their big jars of peanut butter? I can see no indication on the new jar…..?!

  • Anton

    As the FDA has said that we should avoid all peanut butter containing products including ice-creams, cookies, cakes candies, cereals and crackers…etc..
    …this list of products that contain peanut butter is pretty useful and very interesting. There are 300-400 products in the list…all which could contain peanut butter.
    http://blog.foodessentials.com/outbreak-alert/list-peanut-butter-containing-products/

  • Tim

    Colin,
    Your answer about distributor liability for products they merely distribute, and do not manufacture, may be correct in some jurisdictions. However, many states statutorily limit or protect mere distributors from any liability for products which they do not change, amend, repackage, etc. One such example is Minnesota, where 3 deaths have allegedly arisen from the peanut butter involved in the Peanut Corp. situation. If King Nut merely brought the PB in the front door and sold it out the back, without making any change to the product, they likely will be dismissed from any litigation unless the plaintiff can prove otherwise. The law will vary by state. Some states follow the “apparent manufacturer” doctrine, where a distributor who places their own label on the product, and holds it out to be their own, is considered as liable as the manufacturer who packaged the defective product.
    The moral ? Check your local authorities. One size definitely doesn’t fit all.

  • marissa

    is jiff peanut butter ok and what about little crackers with peanut butter

  • does resses have i eat alot of it