Today the CDC and FDA updated their websites to reflect new information on the continuing (and widening) Salmonella outbreak that has thus far caused a confirmed 453 Salmonella Typhimurium infections in citizens of 43 states, and has led to at least six deaths.
As the investigation continues, do not be surprised to see more announcements regarding other peanut butter products that used Peanut Corporation of America’s product and are possibly also contaminated. As the FDA said in their updated announcement today, "Given the potentially-wide distribution of this peanut butter and peanut paste as ingredients in numerous products, the FDA is asking companies to check the records of their supply chain and determine if their peanut butter and peanut paste ingredients came from PCA, and if so, to take appropriate precautionary measures."
The CDC offers this advice to consumers:
Advice to Consumers
To date, common brands of peanut butter sold in grocery stores do not appear to be associated with the outbreak. Public health officials will advise the public if more products are identified as being associated with the outbreak. Persons who think they may have become ill from eating peanut butter are advised to consult their health care providers.
On January 10, 2009, King Nut Companies, a distributor of peanut butter manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), issued a voluntary recall of peanut butter distributed under the King Nut label. In addition, King Nut Companies issued a voluntary recall of Parnell’s Pride peanut butter, which they also distributed and which is produced by the same manufacturer. The recalled products have lot codes beginning with “8”. No other King Nut products are included in this voluntary recall. More information about this recall can be found on the FDA website.
On January 13, 2009, Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), the manufacturer of King Nut peanut butter, announced a voluntary recall of peanut butter produced in its Blakely, Georgia processing facility produced on or after July 1, 2008, that had specific lot numbers and descriptions. More information regarding the recall is available on the FDA website. The peanut butter being recalled is sold in bulk and distributed to institutions, food service industries, and private label food companies, under the brand names Parnell’s Pride and King Nut. None of the peanut butter being recalled is sold directly to consumers through retail grocery stores.
On January 14, 2009, Kellogg Company announced it has taken the precautionary measure of putting a hold on a variety of Austin® and Keebler® branded toasted peanut butter sandwich crackers. Peanut Corporation of America, the manufacturer currently under investigation by FDA and other regulatory agencies, is a peanut paste supplier that the Kellogg Company uses in its Austin® and Keebler® branded peanut butter sandwich crackers. More information can be found on the FDA website.
And Food Safety Expert Bill Marler offers these excellent suggestions:
1. Make sure ALL product is promptly recalled;
2. Do not destroy any documents;
3. The companies should pay the medical bills and all related expenses of the innocent victims and their families;
4. The companies should pay the cost of all related Health Department, CDC and FDA investigations;
5. Provide all bacterial and viral testing of all recalled product and any other tested product (before and after recall);
6. Release all inspection reports on the plants by any Governmental Entity or Third-party Auditor;
7. Release all Salmonella safety precautions taken by either King Nut or Peanut Corporation of America – especially after the 2007 Salmonella Peanut Butter Outbreak;
8. Provide the public with the Epidemiological investigation (with names redacted), so it is clear who knew what and when about the likely source of the outbreak; and,
9. Show the public what is being done to prevent the next outbreak.