Peanut Butter Salmonella Recall Sickens Many and Expands to Other Nut Products

A recall that began as a Trader Joe’s recall of peanut butter because of Salmonella contamination has been expanded to include many other products that are sold under well-known brand names at additional retailers. The recall now includes other peanut butters, almond butters and tahini products.

The source of the Salmonella bacteria appears to be nuts and nut products from Sunland Farms that is based in New Mexico. This is the source of the Trader Joe’s product, and Sunland, Inc. was also the supplier to many other name brands such as Fresh & Easy, Open Nature and Sprouts brands of nut butters.

The outbreak that involves the Salmonella Bredeney strain has so far been blamed for sickening 30 people in 19 states. The states involved are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Of the 30 cases of illness, four people have been affected enough to be hospitalized. No deaths have been reported.

The issue began on September 22, 2012 when the potential contamination was discovered. Trader Joe’s promptly and voluntarily recalled its Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter and warned customers against eating the product.

Then, on September 24, 2012, Sunland, Inc. issued a voluntary recall of several of its products including peanut butter, other nut butter products and some seed products.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and gastrointestinal issues anywhere from 12 to 72 hours after ingestion. Symptoms can continue as long as four to seven days. Although most people recover without needing to seek medical help, those with weakened immune systems are at risk. Salmonella poisoning can be fatal; children or others who may be vulnerable to infection should consult their physicians if they become ill after eating any of the affected products.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), www.cdc.gov, those consumers who are in possession of the affected products should not eat them and should dispose of them or return any remaining products to the place of purchase. The CDC also warns consumers that even if a portion of the peanut butter or other affected product has been eaten without incident or illness, this does not mean that it is safe. All of remaining product should be thrown out or returned.

The CDC and other state and local organizations will continue to follow this issue closely and will take appropriate action should any other source of this outbreak be determined.

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