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Food Poisoning Health Center

Salmonella Peanut Recalls: Expect More

No End in Sight to Peanut Product Recalls Spurred by Salmonella Outbreak; Criminal Probe Under Way
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If you know someone without Internet access, they can call the CDC at 800-CDC-INFO and a staff member will search the FDA's database for them.

At least 529 people in 43 states and a person in Canada have been sickened by the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium. The outbreak may have contributed to at least eight deaths, according to the CDC.

The outbreak isn't over, but there has been a "modest" drop in reported cases, the CDC's Robert Tauxe, MD, MPH, said today at a news conference. Tauxe is deputy director of the CDC's Division of Foodborne, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases.

The most recent onset of illness was Jan. 16, and more reports may be coming since it can take a couple of weeks for new cases to be reported to the CDC.

National, Name-Brand Peanut Butter OK

National, name-brand peanut butters sold at stores aren't linked to the outbreak. But FDA officials aren't as sure about "boutique brands" that stores may have made directly from peanuts they got from the Peanut Corporation of America's Blakely, Ga., plant.

Earlier this week, the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) recalled all peanuts and peanut products processed at its Blakely, Ga., plant in the past two years. The plant isn't making those products anymore.

"Some stores will purchase peanuts and grind them themselves and make peanut butter, which they sell at retail," Stephen Sundlof, DVM, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said today at a press conference.

Sundlof notes that the PCA's expanded recall includes dry-roasted and oil-roasted peanuts. "It is possible -- and we certainly don't have any direct evidence that this occurred -- but it is possible that those nuts may be purchased and ground by certain stores or boutiques into their own brand," Sundlof says.

Peanut Product Recalls: Advice for Consumers

The FDA and CDC recommend taking these steps if you have concerns about peanut products:

  • Check the FDA's searchable database; people without Internet access can call the CDC.
  • If you still have questions, call the manufacturer (look for the toll-free phone number on the label) or visit the company's web site.
  • When in doubt, don't eat it, and don't feed it to your pet (some of the recalls include pet products).
  • Dispose of any potentially contaminated products in a way that those items won't get eaten.
  • Wash your hands after handling any potentially contaminated products.

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