Some peanut butter could be Salmonella-tainted
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers last Wednesday not to eat certain jars of Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter due to risk of Salmonella Tennessee contamination.
According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of February 15 some 290 people have gotten sick since the beginning of the food poisoning outbreak. Approximately 46 individuals that contracted Salmonellosis have been hospitalized. The outbreak began with several cases in August and has grown gradually.
The jars of peanut butter that are involved in the warning have the product code stamped on the jar lid or the side of the jar that begins with the number "2111." A ConAgra plant in Georgia that manufactures both Peter Pan and Great Value brands was found to be the source of the outbreak.
While Great Value peanut butter with this product code has not been linked to the Salmonella outbreak, cross-contamination is a concern since it was manufactured at the same plant. Great Value peanut butter made by other manufacturers than ConAgra is not affected.
If consumers have any jars of Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter with the 2111 product code in their home that they've bought since May 2006, the FDA recommended that they throw them away.
However, some area stores that have carried the Peter Pan peanut butter with the 2111 product code are offering customers refunds.
Carried by area stores
Pittman's Grocery, the Food Lion in Berkeley Springs and the Family Dollar Store in Hancock have pulled all the Peter Pan peanut butter jars with the "2111" product code from their shelves.
The Family Dollar Store in Berkeley Springs had sold all of their Peter Pan crunchy and smooth peanut butter and was unsure if it had the 2111 product code. Pittman's, the Food Lion and both Family Dollar Stores are accepting the affected peanut butter jars back from customers and are offering refunds.
The area Dollar General Stores and Save-a-Lot store in Hancock don't carry either the Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter brands. The generic Great Value label is sold at Wal-Mart.
Outbreak sparks recall
The FDA warning is based on a study done by the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local health agencies that linked 288 cases of foodborne illness in 39 states to eating various types of Peter Pan peanut butter. Their report came out on February 14.
ConAgra is recalling all Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter that begins with the product code 2111. They are also destroying all affected jars.
Salmonella illness symptoms
Most Salmonella infections cause fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours after infection, according to information from the CDC website.
Anyone that has had these symptoms and who has eaten Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter recently should contact their physician immediately.
If anyone has become ill from eating either of these brands of peanut butter with the specified product code, they should save the peanut butter jar to give to authorities. Any cases of Salmonella should be reported to state or local health departments.
Illness from Salmonella generally lasts for four to seven days and most people recover without treatment. However, some with severe diarrhea may need to be hospitalized and receive intravenous fluids for dehydration.
Can be serious in some cases
Salmonella infections can be serious in the elderly, infants and people with impaired immune systems. In rare cases, Salmonella bacteria can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening illness.
Salmonella bacteria live in the intestines of animals and people. According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they are usually transmitted to humans by eating foods contaminated with animal feces.
Infection can be caused by food handlers that have forgotten to wash their hands with soap after using the bathroom or that have had contact with sick pets.
Reptiles are likely to carry Salmonella. Hand washing with soap is advised immediately after handling reptiles.
To prevent infection by Salmonella, the Center For Disease Control and Prevention advises that poultry, ground beef and eggs be thoroughly cooked before eating. Don't eat or drink anything that contains raw eggs or raw unpasteurized milk.
If served undercooked meat, poultry or eggs in restaurants, the CDC recommended sending it back for additional cooking. Immediately wash hands, kitchen preparation surfaces and utensils after contact with raw meat or poultry.
Prepare food carefully for infants, the elderly and those with weak immune systems. Wash hands with soap after handling pets, reptiles or birds.
Be sure to always wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the restroom and changing infants, before and after food preparation, between handling different foods and before and after eating.