The Salmonella contamination may have affected more peanut butter products processed at ConAgra's plant in Georgia, the Food and Drug Administration said in a statement released on March 9.
The FDA has now expanded the recall to include all Peter Pan peanut butter and Great Value peanut butter made at the Sylvester Georgia facility back to October 2004 as long the products carry the product code starting with 2111, the government food watchdog says.
The update on the peanut butter recall was issued after the FDA obtained more information from its on-going investigation into the Salmonella contamination, which has resulted in infections in more than 400 people in 42 states since the first case was reported in Mid-February.
"Consumers who have purchased any of the products since October 2004 should discard them," the FDA advises. "FDA's advice to consumers continues to be not to eat any Peter Pan peanut butter or any Great Value peanut butter beginning with the 2111 product code."
Early, salmonella strains were both detected in the open jars of peanut butter from people who were sickened and in the ConAgra plant. Both strains matched the outbreak strain. Salmonella was detected in both Peter Pan peanut butter and Great Value peanut butter.
"The most likely scenario is that the peanut butter became contaminated sometime during the production, between the roasting process and putting the product in a jar," said Dr. David Acheson, the FDA's Director of the Food Safety and Security Staff in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, on March 1.
Salmonella rarely contaminates peanut butter, nor did it cause serious health problems in people with healthy immune systems. But the young, the elderly and people who have their system compromised may be at higher risk of complications by the bacteria. Those infected may experience fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
Questions and Answers: (from FDA and updated Feb 25, 2007)
Peter Pan & Great Value Peanut Butter
Salmonella Outbreak and Product Recall
What size containers, varieties, types of peanut butter are potentially contaminated?
All containers, varieties and types of Peter Pan peanut butter, all products containing Peter Pan brand peanut butter, and all jars of Great Value brand peanut butter bearing a product code that begins "2111" are potentially contaminated. Potentially contaminated products include 3/4 ounce and 1.1 ounce single serving packs of Peter Pan brand peanut butter. All of these products contain peanut butter that was manufactured in ConAgra's Sylvester, Georgia plant. Retailers and institutions possessing the products described should not serve or sell them. Any consumer possessing any of these products should discard them.
What if there is no lot number on my Great Value peanut butter?
If there is no lot number on your container of Great Value brand peanut butter it should be discarded.
Where was the implicated peanut butter distributed?
The Peter Pan peanut butter was distributed nationwide and to more than 60 countries. The Great Value brand peanut butter was distributed nationally through Wal*Mart. At this time we do not know if any of the Great Value brand was distributed internationally.
Are other brands of peanut butter of concern?
No. An epidemiological review of the reported illnesses implicated only Peter Pan peanut butter and Great Value brand peanut butter that wasmanufactured in ConAgra's Sylvester, Georgia plant.
If I have only eaten a small amount of the contaminated peanut butter can I still get sick?
Yes. Eating even small amounts of contaminated peanut butter can cause illness. Sometimes it takes several days for symptoms to develop.
I have eaten half a jar of the implicated peanut butter and have not become ill. Is it safe to eat the remaining contents?
No. To be safe all potentially contaminated peanut butter should be discarded.
Are there special instructions for pregnant women who have consumed the implicated peanut butter?
What if I ate the implicated peanut butter a few weeks ago and became ill at that time, should I be tested for Salmonella?
Salmonellosis typically lasts from 4-7 days and most individuals recover without treatment. If you are not currently experiencing symptoms there is no reason to be tested. You should however report the incident to your local health department.
Can I use the implicated peanut butter to make peanut butter cookies or peanut butter icing?
No. FDA recommends that all potentially contaminated peanut butter be discarded.
If I have been diagnosed with salmonellosis and was eating peanut butter at the time should I send my peanut butter somewhere for testing?
If you have been diagnosed with salmonellosis and were eating peanut butter at the time of your illness and you still have the open jar, then notify your local health department as they may wish to collect the jar for testing. Any unopened jars of peanut butter should be discarded.
What are the symptoms of salmonellosis? How long do the symptoms last?
Symptoms of salmonellosis include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps and typically emerge 12 to 72 hours after one becomes infected. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness. In persons with poor underlying health or weakened immune systems, Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections.
How long will Salmonella stay in your system after exposure?
In most cases Salmonella will be present in an individual's intestine for up to 3 days before they exhibit symptoms of illness. During the time one is actually sick they will continue to harbor the bacteria. For most people this is a period of 4 to 7 days, barring further complications. Occasionally the bacteria can linger in the intestines for a while even after the symptoms have resolved.
What is FDA doing?
Since learning of the outbreak FDA issued multiple press releases and conducted media outreach to warn consumers not to consume Peter Pan peanut butter and certain Great Value brand peanut butter products. FDA also sent a team of microbiologists and experienced field investigators to ConAgra's manufacturing plant in Sylvester, Georgia where the products are made to review records, collect product samples and conduct tests for Salmonella in an effort to identify the exact cause of contamination and eliminate it. FDA continues to work closely with CDC and state health authorities to track additional cases of Salmonella Tennessee illness and to determine what actions must be taken to further protectthe public health. FDA will continue to provide updates to the public as the investigation unfolds.
Has the peanut butter been voluntarily recalled by the firm? Where can I access the recall notice?
Yes. ConAgra has initiated a voluntary recall of the potentially contaminated Peter Pan and Great Value brand peanut butter products. A press release describing the recall can be found at www.conagrafoods.com. Consumers with questions or concerns about the recall can call ConAgra’s 24-hour toll-free hotline at 866-344-6970.
How do I get a refund?
For a full refund consumers should mail the Peter Pan Peanut Butter or Great Value Peanut Butter product lid along with their name and mailing address to ConAgra Foods, P.O. Box 3768, Omaha, NE 68103. Questions or concerns about the recall are being received by ConAgra's 24-hour toll-free hotline at 866-344-6970.
How does Salmonella get into peanut butter?
Now that we know Salmonella contamination in peanut butter was originated in ConAgra’s peanut butter processing plant in Georgia, as the Food and Drug Administration confirmed on March 1, the next question to ask is, how could Salmonella find its way into the famous brands of Peter Pan peanut butter and Great Value peanut butter.
Update: Peanut butter, Salmonella, lawsuits
The Food and Drug Administration on March 1 updated the peanut butter recall status saying that Salmonella was found in the peanut butter plant and three brands of peanut butter toppings are also subject to the current recall.
An important message for peanut butter consumers
We have voluntarily recalled all varieties of Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Great Value Peanut Butter beginning with product code 2111, which is printed on the lid of both brands. We continue to work with the FDA to investigate the link between these products and the foodborne illness salmonella.
FDA updates peanut butter recall
The Food and Drug Administration issued an update today on March1 on the recall status of the Peter Pan peanut butter and Great Value peanut butter linked to the Salmonella outbreak saying that Salmonella has been found in the peanut butter plant and three brands of peanut butter toppings are also subject to the current recall.
Salmonella Outbreak Investigation, February 27, 2007
As of February 27th at 12 PM EST, 370 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Tennessee have been reported to CDC from 42 states.
Salmonella May Affect Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
The peanut butter related salmonella outbreak does not seem over. An unconfirmed case reported today Feb 27 by Consumeraffairs.com indicated that the outbreak may have affected another line of products, Hershey's Reese's Peanut Butter snacks.
New York State: Peanut butter tests positive for Salmonella
Acting State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. today announced that the State Health Department's Wadsworth Center laboratory has confirmed a sample of peanut butter purchased in New York State is positive for Salmonella , tying the sample to a national Salmonella outbreak.
S. Korea recalls peanut butter
The South Korea Food and Drug Administration Saturday issued a recall for US-made Peter Pan peanut butter, which has been already put on the market in the country. The government agency said testing is underway to see if the peanut butter contains Salmonella.
Salmonella found in opened jars of peanut butter
Peanut butter samples collected from opened jars used by sickened people from a number of states involved in the Salmonella outbreak tested positive for the bacteria, ConAgra Foods Inc announced on Thursday. The company issued a recall for Peter Pan peanut butter and Great Value peanut butter produced at its Sylvester, Ga., facility since May 2006.
Class action lawsuit filed over tainted peanut butter
A class action lawsuit was filed against ConAgra Tuesday in United States District Court for the Western District of Washington. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of named plaintiffs James Daniels and Linda Oswald, and all other individuals who became ill with Salmonella infections after consuming Salmonella-contaminated Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter.
Peanut butter kills woman, lawsuit alleges
A Pennsylvania family Wednesday filed a negligence and wrongful-death lawsuit against ConAgra Foods Inc., alleging that a relative died from eating salmonella-tainted peanut butter produced by the company.
Seattle lawyer files class action lawsuit over peanut butter illnesses
A Kent woman and a Bellingham man have filed a class-action lawsuit against a Nebraska-based food manufacturer on behalf of people sickened by Salmonella infections after eating peanut butter later recalled for contamination.
FDA expands its warning about salmonella-tainted peanut butter
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday broadened its early warning about salmonella-contaminated peanut butter, saying that all Peter Pan peanut butter bought since May 2006 should be discarded as lawsuits are being filed against ConAgra Foods Inc., the maker of the affected peanut butter.
ConAgra recalls peanut butter
United States health officials on Wednesday warned consumers not to eat certain jars of Peter Pan peanut butter or Great Value peanut butter with a specific product code because the products were probably contaminated with Salmonella Tennessee, a pathogen causing a foodborne illness.
Eating tainted peanut butter makes five Illinoisans sick
Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, warns consumers in the state of Illionis not to eat Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter with product code beginning with numbers “2111” purchased since May 2006.
Experts Search for Source of Salmonella-Tainted Peanut Butter
The number of Americans sickened by salmonella-tainted peanut butter rose to 290 across 39 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported late Thursday, even as government scientists labored to detect the exact source of the contamination.
FDA warns consumers not to eat certain peanut butters
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday warned consumers not to eat certain jars of Peter Pan peanut butter or Great Value peanut butter because the products were probably contaminated with Salmonella Tennessee, a pathogen causing a foodborne illness.