Consumer Food and Nutrition Health — 22 September 2012

The grocery chain Trader Joe’s is voluntarily recalling peanut butter that may be linked to a “fast moving outbreak” of salmonella disease. At least 29 salmonella illnesses have been reported in 18 states.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are warning consumers not to eat Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter because it is “possibly linked” to the outbreak.

The peanut butter was sold at Trader Joe’s stores nationwide and on the internet. The recalled 16 ounce plastic jars have a stock order number of 97111. Trader Joe’s said they should be returned to stores for a full refund.

The FDA said it was working closely with the CDC and several state health departments that have been conducting their own investigations of the salmonella outbreak. On September 20th, the FDA said it briefed Trader Joe’s on the status of the investigation and the company agreed to remove the suspected product from its shelves.

“At this time, no confirmed illnesses directly linked to this product have been reported to Trader Joe’s,” the company said in a statement. “We have no confirmed information that suggests this peanut butter is unsafe to eat.”

The company said production and distribution of the peanut butter has been suspended while the FDA and its Valencia Peanut Butter supplier continued their investigations.

Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, the elderly or people with weakened immune systems. Most people sickened by salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days. In some cases, the diarrhea may be so severe that patients need to be hospitalized.

In recent years, peanut butter has been the source of several salmonella outbreaks that infected hundreds of people.

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Pat Anson, Editor

Pat is Editor in Chief of American News Report. He is a veteran journalist and a former correspondent and producer for HealthWeek (PBS), Nightly Business Report (PBS) and other nationally syndicated shows. Pat has won numerous journalism awards, including a Golden Mike award for investigative reporting.

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