In early June, 2007, four infections sharing a pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) pattern were identified by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. As additional cases were reported, the initial investigation did not reveal the cause of the infections. A multistate, case-control study conducted in early October indicated that illness was associated with consumption of Banquet brand frozen, not ready-to-eat, pot pies. Further investigation determined that 77% of patients who ate these pies had microwaved them. Consumer confusion might have resulted in a failure to cook the product properly.
A voluntary recall was issued by ConAgra, the manufacturer on October 11, 2007, for all nine brands of pot pies produced at the implicated plant. The outbreak strain was isolated from at least thirteen samples of unopened Banquet pot pies collected from the homes of patients. All pies that tested positive were turkey pot pies. Two of the pies underwent separate testing of filling and crust. The filling tested positive and the crust tested negative for both pies. Cooking instructions were not validated to account for variability in microwave wattage and common misconceptions among consumers regarding the nature of not-ready-to-eat foods.
The involved plant had produced one million pies per day under various store brands. Frozen, not-ready-to-eat microwavable meals have been reported previously as vehicles in salmonellosis outbreaks. Despite an intensive investigation of the production plant and the ingredient suppliers, the source of the
Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter Salmonella Outbreak
On February 14, 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that there had been 290 cases of Salmonella infection in 39 states that were linked to the consumption of Peter Pan and Great Value brand peanut butter that was manufactured in ConAgra’s Georgia peanut butter plant. Any Peter Pan or Great Value brand peanut butter beginning with product code 2111 was recalled in response to the outbreak investigation. Ultimately, over 700 confirmed illnesses occurred in the outbreak, and the outbreak strain of Salmonella Tennessee was isolated from several opened and unopened jars of ConAgra produced Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter and from two environmental samples obtained from the Sylvester, Georgia ConAgra plant.