Thursday, February 15, 2007

Salmonella Outbreak in ConAgra Peanut Butters

Consumers should toss certain jars of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter, according to representatives from ConAgra Foods. If the jar lid has a product code beginning "2111" it can be returned to ConAgra for a refund.

IT'S IMPORTANT TO NOTE: The recall does not affect Great Value peanut butter made by other manufacturers, the Food and Drug Administration said. This is a ConAgra recall.

Peanutbutterst_1 To get a refund, consumers should send lids and their names and addresses to ConAgra Foods, P.O. Box 57078, Irvine, CA 92619-7078. For more information, call 1-866-344-6970.

The salmonella outbreak, which federal health officials said Wednesday has sickened 288 people in 39 states since August, was linked to tainted peanut butter produced by ConAgra at a plant in Sylvester, Ga. How salmonella got into peanut butter is still under investigation, Dr. Mike Lynch, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Associated Press.

ConAgra officials haven't said how much peanut butter is covered in the recall, which it called a precaution.

"We are working closely with the FDA to better understand its concerns, and we will take whatever additional measures are needed to ensure the safety, quality and wholesomeness of our products," spokesman Chris Kircher told a reporter.

CDC officials believe the salmonella outbreak to be the nation's first associated with peanut butter. The most cases were reported in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee and Missouri. About 20 percent of all the ill were hospitalized, and there were no deaths. About 85 percent of the infected people said they ate peanut butter, CDC officials said.

Salmonella infection is known each year to sicken about 40,000 people in the United States, according to the CDC. Salmonellosis, as the infection is known, kills about 600 people annually. Symptoms can include diarrhea, fever, dehydration, abdominal pain and vomiting.


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