Salmonella Peanut Recalls: Expect More
No End in Sight to Peanut Product Recalls Spurred by Salmonella Outbreak; Criminal Probe Under Way
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
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,"
Peanut Product Recalls: Advice for Consumers
The FDA and CDC recommend taking these steps if you have concerns about
- Check the
FDA's searchable database; people without Internet access can call the
- 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.
Also, know that "PCA" or "Peanut Corporation of America"
aren't on the labels of products that trace back to PCA. PCA didn't make any
products that are sold directly to consumers.
Salmonella bacteria can cause symptoms including diarrhea, fever, and
abdominal cramps with 12-72 hours of infection. See a doctor if you have any
possible symptoms of salmonella infection.
Most people get better within a week without treatment, but serious and even
life-threatening complications can occur, especially in infants, the elderly,
and people with a weak immune system.
Criminal Investigation Under Way
The FDA and the U.S. Department of Justice are conducting a criminal
investigation of the PCA and also looking into civil action against the PCA.
Because the investigation is still under way, Sundlof declined to provide
details about it.
Sundlof also confirmed today that in April 2008, a Canadian importer refused
a shipment of PCA product from the Blakely, Ga., plant because it had metal
fragments in it. That product was destroyed.
The PCA also has processing facilities in Suffolk, Va., and Plainview,
Texas. The FDA has been to those facilities and says they're not linked to the
outbreak or any recalls; the FDA's focus is only on the PCA's Blakely, Ga.,
On Jan. 28, the PCA issued a news release stating that the company wants its
customers and consumers "to know that we are continuing to work day and
night with the FDA and other officials to determine the source of the problem
and ensure that it never happens again."