Jan. 28, 2009 -- The peanut butter product recall is growing yet again, according to FDA and CDC officials, who called a news conference Wednesday to alert consumers that additional products are expected to be recalled in the coming days.
That's due partly to the discovery of additional strains of salmonella found at the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely, Ga., traced as the source of the outbreak, during the FDA inspection that ended Tuesday, says Stephen Sundlof, DVM, director of the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.
Sundlof urges consumers to keep checking the FDA's searchable list of recalled peanut products, because that list is likely to keep growing. There are more than 430 items on that list. Today, the Peanut Corporation of America recalled all peanuts and peanut products processed at its Blakely, Ga., facility since Jan. 1, 2007. Those products weren't sold directly to consumers, but they went to institutions and companies nationwide.
Other recent recalls include:
- Jenny Craig: Jenny's Cuisine Anytime Peanut Butter Flavor Nutritional Bars with "Best Before" dates of MAY1209ALO, MAY1209BLO, MAY2409BLO, MAY2509BLO, MAY2509ALO, MAY2609ALO, and MAY2609BLO
- Salix: Certain packages of Healthy-hide Deli-wrap 3-Pack 5" Peanut Butter-Filled Rawhide dog treats
- Isagenix International: Certain lots of Isagenix Chocolate Dipped Honey Peanut IsaLean Bars
Officials say consumers should not be concerned about national name-brand peanut butter that is on store shelves.
As of Jan. 26, the CDC had received reports of at least 501 people in 43 states and Canada sickened by salmonella in peanut butter products. The strain associated with the outbreak is Salmonella Typhimurium. At least eight deaths may be linked to the outbreak.
FDA Inspection Concluded
Some products made at PCA's Blakely, Ga. plant initially tested positive for salmonella, but were retested and got a negative result before being shipped out, according to the FDA.
The inspection of the Georgia manufacturing plant that ended Tuesday found numerous examples of deficiencies, including failure to properly maintain equipment and protect food against contamination, the growth of mold on the ceiling and walls of a cooler used for product storage, and the presence of cockroaches in a washroom next to a production and packaging area.
The inspection also revealed that some products made as long ago as 2007 tested positive for salmonella but were sent to another lab for testing, the report says. When the second report gave the products a negative status for salmonella, the product was shipped.
FDA officials say that salmonella can exist in small pockets and it's possible to obtain both negative and positive results from the same product.
Even as the scope of the recall widens, the number of reported salmonella cases related to peanut butter products seems to be leveling off, FDA officials say. The most recently reported onset of illness associated with salmonella-contaminated peanut butter products was Jan. 9, the officials say.
The additional salmonella strains found at the Georgia plant have not yet been linked with illness.
Most people infected with salmonella develop fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Most recover without treatment, but infants, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are more likely to have severe and life-threatening illness.
The American Peanut Council, a trade group representing the U.S. peanut industry, issued a news release about PCA. "This is a clear and unconscionable act by one manufacturer," says Patrick Archer, president of the American Peanut Council. "This act is not by any means representative of the excellent food safety practices and procedures of the U.S. peanut industry."