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Food Poisoning Health Center

Salmonella Prompts Peanut Butter Recall

Grocery Brands Not Affected in Recall of Institution-Size Peanut Butter
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WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 14, 2009 -- Bulk peanut butter maker Peanut Corp. of America has recalled 21 lots of peanut butter implicated in a 43-state salmonella outbreak. Grocery brands appear not to be involved, according to the CDC.

The CDC's ongoing investigation has turned up clusters of salmonella infections in schools, hospitals, and long-term-care facilities that use only a brand of peanut butter called King Nut.

King Nut Companies previously recalled product lots -- including a brand distributed as Parnell's Pride -- with product codes beginning with the numeral 8, including 8193, 8194, 8197, 8233, 8234, 8235, 8241, 8255, 8256, 8275, 8276, 8282, 8283, 8284, 8296, 8316, 8330, 8331, 8336, 8345, 8354.

No other King Nut products have been recalled. However, King Nut distributes peanut butter made by Peanut Corp. of America, which yesterday issued a recall of products made at its Blakely, Ga., processing facility.

"We deeply regret that this has happened," Stewart Parnell, owner and president of Peanut Corp. of America, says in a news release. "Out of an abundance of caution, we are voluntarily withdrawing this product and contacting our customers. We are taking these actions with the safety of our consumers as our first priority."

The salmonella outbreak is caused by a relatively common type of the food-borne bug: Salmonella typhimurium. The Minnesota Department of Health isolated this bug from an opened, 5-pound container of King Nut creamy peanut butter.

So far, the salmonella outbreak has sickened 410 people in 43 states. States not included in the outbreak are Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, and South Carolina.

The states with the highest number of cases are California (55), Ohio (53), Massachusetts (40), Minnesota (30), and Michigan (20).

The salmonella outbreak has been linked to three deaths. Illnesses began between Sept. 3 and Dec. 31; most occurred after Oct. 1. Patients range in age from younger than 1 to 98. About 20% of people who became ill have been hospitalized.

Symptoms of salmonella infection are diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps beginning 12 to 72 hours after infection. Illness usually last four to seven days. Most people recover without treatment, but severe infection may occur when salmonella bacteria spread from the intestines into the bloodstream. Such cases can result in death without antibiotic treatment.

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