A combination of epidemiological analysis and laboratory testing by state officials in Minnesota and Connecticut, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have enabled FDA to confirm that the sources of the outbreak of illnesses caused by Salmonella Typhimurium are peanut butter and peanut paste produced by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) at its Blakely, Georgia and Plainview, Texas processing plants
Peanut butter is sold by PCA in bulk containers ranging in size from five (5) to 1,700 pounds. The peanut paste is sold in sizes ranging from 35-pound containers to product sold by the tanker container. Neither of these products is sold directly to consumers, though some bulk containers were sold to schools and other institutional facilities. Foods containing the recalled product may also be available in school cafeterias and vending machines, including cookies, crackers, or snack mixes. Additional details on the recall can be found at: http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/salmonellatyph.html.
Because identification of products subject to recall is continuing, the FDA urges consumers to postpone eating commercially-prepared or manufactured peanut butter-containing products and institutionally-served peanut butter until further information becomes available about which products may be affected. Efforts to specifically identify those products are ongoing. To make it easier for consumers to determine whether any of the peanut butter-containing products they have at home are subject to recall, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has created and posted an expanded, searchable database that will be updated as new information becomes available: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/index.cfm.
Schools are encouraged to examine their cafeteria and vending machine selections to ensure that recalled products are removed. Any product on the recall list should be disposed of in a safe manner to prevent infections in humans, pets, or other animals. The product should be disposed of in a closed plastic bag and placed in a sealed trash can to prevent people or animals, including wild animals, from eating it. Consumers are also urged to wash their hands after handling potentially contaminated products.
For information on products containing peanut butter from companies not reporting recalls, consumers may wish to consult the company's website or call the toll-free number listed on most packaging. Please note that information consumers may receive from the companies has not been verified by FDA.
Information about recalled products and Salmonella can be found by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO.
A podcast on the outbreak, response, and consumer information can be downloaded from CDC's Web site at http://www2a.cdc.gov/podcasts/player.asp?f=10684
Persons who think they may have become ill from eating peanut butter are advised to consult their health care providers. Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12–72 hours after infection.