WebMD Health News
Louise Chang, MD
Jan. 27, 2009 -- The FDA today encouraged consumers to keep checking the
list of peanut butter product recalls related to the ongoing salmonella outbreak because
that list is likely to keep growing.
"We expect the list of recalled product to continue to expand,"
Stephen Sundlof, DVM, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied
Nutrition, said today at a joint FDA-CDC news conference.
As of Jan. 25, the CDC had reports of at least 501 people in 43 states and
one person in Canada sickened by the outbreak strain of Salmonella
Typhimurium, and eight deaths that may be linked to the outbreak.
The latest case reported to the CDC began on Jan. 9, and the outbreak is
ongoing, though the number of new cases has "decreased modestly,"
Robert Tauxe, MD, MPH, deputy director of the CDC's Division of Foodborne,
Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases, said at the news conference.
The FDA has traced the source of the outbreak to a Peanut Corporation of
America (PCA) facility in Blakely, Ga. The FDA has finished investigating that
facility and found deficiencies in the facility's good manufacturing
Those problems included about 12 incidents during 2007 and 2008 in which the
PCA's internal testing detected salmonella and released the products after
retesting, sometimes done by a second lab, according to Michael Rogers,
director of field investigations in the FDA's Office of Regional
Besides the Salmonella Typhimurium strain that has caused all of the
reported illnesses, health officials have found three other salmonella strains
tied to PCA products. One of those strains was found in an unopened tub of
peanut butter; the other two were found in cracks in the floor of the PCA's
The PCA, in a statement released to the media, says the company "has
cooperated fully with FDA from day one during the course of this investigation.
We have shared with them every record that they have asked for that is in our
possession and we will continue to do so."
Nearly 400 products have been recalled, according to the FDA's web site,
which includes a searchable
list of the recalled products.
Recent peanut butter recalls include:
The PCA's products aren't sold directly to stores, but they were distributed
to a wide range of companies for use in products or for further distribution.
The FDA and other health officials have visited nearly 1,000 firms that
purchased products from the PCA, according to Sundlof.
You won't find "PCA" or "Peanut Corporation of America" on
product labels, Sundlof notes. If a peanut butter product isn't on the FDA's
list of recalled products, "consumers may wish to look at the company's web
site or call the toll-free number listed on most packaging" to check on its
status, says Sundlof. He cautions that the FDA hasn't verified any information
that consumers may get directly from companies about peanut butter safety.
"If consumers are in doubt about the safety of their products, they
should not eat them until the scope of the recall is clear," says
SOURCES:Stephen Sundlof, DVM, director, Center for Food Safety and Applied
Nutrition, FDA.Robert Tauxe, MD, MPH, deputy director, Division of Foodborne, Bacterial and
Mycotic Diseases, National Center for Zoonotic Vectorborne and Enteric
Diseases, CDC.Michael Rogers, director, Division of Field Investigations, Office of
Regional Operations, FDA.FDA: "Recall of Products Containing Peanut Butter: Salmonella
Typhimurium."News release, Peanut Corporation of America.
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