FDA: Peanut Butter Investigation Ongoing

The Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers to postpone their consumption of commercially prepared or manufactured peanut butter-containing products, as well as institutionally served peanut butter, in light of an ongoing investigation into a Salmonella outbreak.

Identification of the actual products subject to recall is continuing, so the FDA is currently urging consumers to postpone eating such products until more information becomes available about the products that could be affected.

The FDA reported that there is currently no indication that any national name-brand jars of peanut butter sold in retail stores are linked to any recall.

For now, the FDA has traced a source of Salmonella Typhimurium contamination to a plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), which manufactures both peanut butter that is institutionally served (in settings such as long-term care facilities and cafeterias) and peanut paste, a concentrated product consisting of ground, roasted peanuts (distributed to food manufacturers who use it as an ingredient in many commercially produced products including cakes, cookies, crackers, candies, cereal and ice cream).

The FDA notified PCA that product samples originating from its Blakely, Ga., processing plant have been tested and found positive for Salmonella by laboratories in Minnesota and Georgia.

The state of Minnesota reported to FDA that its samples of King Nut peanut butter are a genetic match to the strain of Salmonella that has caused illnesses in that state and around the country. King Nut is a distributor of PCA products.

PCA has expanded its voluntary recall to include all peanut butter produced on or after Aug. 8, 2008, and all peanut paste produced on or after Sept. 26, 2008, in its Blakely, Ga.. A full list of PCA’s recalled batches of peanut butter products is available on its Web site, www.peanutcorp.com.

The product being recalled is sold by PCA in bulk packaging in containers ranging in size from five to 1,700 pounds.

The peanut paste is sold in sizes ranging from 35-pound containers to product sold by the tanker container. These products are not sold directly to consumers.

The FDA said retailers should stop selling products that have been recalled, but also suggested that manufacturers who know their products do not contain ingredients from PCA may wish to inform consumers of that fact.

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