January 27, 2009

Tainted peanut butter causes 500 illnesses

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says more than 500 cases of Salmonella poisoning have occurred as recalls of tainted peanut butter products expand.

The FDA said among the latest recalls was the Falcon Trading Co./SunRidge Farms of Pajaro, Calif., which issued a precautionary nationwide voluntary recall of its Naturally Preferred-brand honey nut nuggets and SunRidge-brand tropical golden nuggets, chocolate energy bars and energy nuggets.

The recalls stem from a FDA investigation that determined the source of the Salmonella typhimurium outbreak was peanut butter and paste produced at a Peanut Corp. of America processing plant in Georgia. The company sold its products to approximately 70 food manufacturers and institutions -- but not directly to consumers -- for use as an ingredient in such products as cookies, crackers, cereal, candy, pet food and ice cream.

FDA officials said that while the risk of animals contracting salmonellosis is minimal, there is a risk to humans from handling the contaminated pet food products.

Major national brands of peanut butter in jars sold in grocery stores are not affected by any recalls.

A FDA searchable list of recalled products is available at http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/index.cfm.