Many of my readers are peanut butter lovers and you may be too. That’s why I wanted you to know about the current salmonella tainted peanut products outbreak that, as of October 16, has sickened 35 people in 19 states. If you typically buy peanut butter from Trader Joe’s or consume other peanut-containing products bought anywhere, you’ll want to check the list of products cited for recall at the manufacturer’s website (see link below). Here’s what happened.
Salmonella Peanut Butter Outbreak 2012
At the end of September 2012, the CDC confirmed salmonella Bredeney bacteria outbreak in peanut products that came out of a specific manufacturer – Sunland of Portales, New Mexico. According to a USA News Today [Peanut Butter Plant Tests Positive for Salmonella, October 5], many of these products included peanut butter purchased at Trader Joe stores across the country – especially the Valencia Creamy brand. Of the 35 people who have become ill with salmonella poisoning, some have required hospitalization. To date, no deaths have been reported.
The Sunland Company has expanded its product recall to include all of their products that had been made from March 2010 and September 24, 2012 and has stopped its nut butter production. These peanut butter products include Open Nature Crunchy Peanut Butter, Sprout’s Creamy Almond Butter, Archer Farms Creamy Cashew Butter and Sunland Natural Tahini.
According to Channel 7 KLTV [Company linked to salmonella poisoning expands peanut recall, October 16, 2012] the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) had found salmonella in raw peanuts in Sunland’s processing plant. As a result, the company has expanded its recall list to include raw and roasted peanuts and in-shell peanuts sold in 2 oz to 50 lb sizes.
The company’s recall list now includes 76 products including candy, peanuts, ice cream, Starbuck’s bistro boxes that contain peanut butter, and Hines Dollar General peanut butter. The manufacturer is recommending that if you have any of these products to either discard or return them for a refund or store credit.
To view the list of products recalled click here.
What Is a Salmonella Infection?
Salmonella is an infection acquired by bacteria tainted foods which can make people severely ill – even fatally. It can affect anyone poorly, but generally children and the elderly, or those with weakened immune systems will be the most at risk for dangerous outcomes. Its symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramps
Treatment for salmonella depends on the severity of the infection/symptoms since it is generally self-limiting unless complications develop. Drinking a lot of fluids, water and/or electrolyte-fortified sports drinks, is necessary to both flush out the organism and prevent dehydration. Be sure, though, that you see your doctor and follow his/her directions for treatment.
In more severe cases, or in cases where someone’s immune system is already weakened, antibiotics like ciprofloxacin are given. Sometimes, hospitalization with IV antibiotics and antidiarrheal agents are necessary.
Even if you get salmonella infection from one of these peanut products, the outcome is good in about 80% of people if diagnosed and treated promptly. It is especially important to not become dehydrated which can lead to electrolyte abnormalities and subsequent heart rhythm disorders.
What Should I Know About Buying Peanut Products?
Typically, when we hear of salmonella outbreaks it has to do with undercooked meat, fish or egg products, eating unwashed fruit, or bottled/canned foods with salmonella contaminated product. As peanut plants grow in the ground they are naturally exposed to all types of bacteria, viruses and fungus. The cleaning process that takes place by peanut processing manufacturers, however, usually is sufficient to kill all the contaminants and produce a safe product.
Yet, a Penn State Food Safety Division report [Trader Joe’s recalls peanut butter after linkage to Salmonella outbreak], suggests that peanuts being a dry food, can be more resistant to roasting and cleaning processes which can allow salmonella to flourish. Another Scientific American study [How Does Salmonella Get Into Peanut Butter? February 2009] from a 2008-2009 salmonella peanut outbreak suggested that perhaps contaminants, like water from leaking roofs, or animal feces, may be involved as the source of the salmonella.
The current outbreak involves peanuts that have, as far as we know at this time, come out of one manufacturing plant – Sunland Products. When you buy peanuts, peanut butter, or any product that contains peanuts, read the label carefully for the name of the manufacturer who made the product.
I want to ensure that my readers are safe in dealing with peanut products. It is important for you to know that if you have bought, and/or eaten peanut products, even if their labels do not come from Sunland Products, and you develop the symptoms noted above, please see your doctor immediately.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Natural Health News
Company linked to salmonella poisoning expands peanut recall, http://www.kltv.com/story/19829861/company-linked-to-illness-expands-peanut-recall
Peanut Butter Plant Tests Positive for Salmonella, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/05/peanut-butter-salmonella-outbreak/1615475/
Salmonella Poisoning Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention, Vaccine, Causes, History, http://www.medicinenet.com/salmonella/page7.htm#what_are_the_prognosis_outcomes_and_complications_for_salmonella_infections
How Does Salmonella Get Into Peanut Butter? http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=salmonella-poisoning-peanut-butter
Trader Joe Trader Joe’s recalls peanut butter after linkage to Salmonella outbreak, http://pennstatefoodsafety.blogspot.com/2012/09/trader-joes-is-recalling-creamy-salted.html
photo credit: technorati.com