Tainted Peter Pan peanut butter recalled

ConAgra Foods Inc. in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a voluntary recall for all varieties of Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter that begin with the product code 2111 imprinted on the lid of both brands.

Both the Peter Pan and Great Value brands are manufactured in a single facility in Georgia. The study did not specifically implicate the Great Value brand peanut butter. These products may have national distribution. Great Value peanut butter made by other manufacturers is not affected.

Public health officials in multiple states, with the assistance of the CDC and the U.S FDA are investigating a large multistate outbreak of Salmonella Tennessee infections. Interviews conducted that compared the foods eaten by ill and well people have shown that consumption of Peter Pan peanut butter was statistically associated with illness and is therefore the most likely source of the outbreak.

The CDC’s OutbreakNet (the network of public health officials that investigate foodborne illnesses nationwide) has been monitoring this outbreak which has been prolonged and of low intensity beginning with a few cases in August and gradually growing.

Public health officials have been working to identify the source of infection for several months. Two closely related DNA fingerprint patterns have been associated with this outbreak. DNA fingerprinting is routinely done at public health laboratories in all states as part of PulseNet (the nationwide network of public health laboratories that sub-type bacteria).

As of February 15th at 3PM EST, 290 persons with Salmonella Tennessee, the Salmonella type associated with this outbreak, have been reported to CDC from 39 states: Alaska (1), Alabama (9), Arkansas (3), Arizona (5), California (1), Colorado (10), Connecticut (2), Georgia (14), Iowa (6), Illinois (5), Indiana (13), Kansas (6), Kentucky (9), Massachusetts (5), Maryland (2), Maine (1), Michigan (5), Minnesota (5), Missouri (13), Mississippi (3), Montana (2), Nebraska (2), New Jersey (5), North Carolina (15), New Mexico (1), New York (32), Ohio (7), Oklahoma (10), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (23), South Carolina (6), South Dakota (5), Tennessee (18), Texas (13), Virginia (17), Vermont (4), Washington (4), Wisconsin (5), and West Virginia (1).

Among 185 patients for whom clinical information is available, 44 (24%) were hospitalized. There have been no reports of deaths attributed to this infection. Onset dates, which are known for 187 patients, ranged from August 1, 2006 to January 30, 2007.

Most persons infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most persons recover without treatment.

However, in some persons the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. The elderly, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

Health officials and the peanut butter manufacturer are working collaboratively to learn more about the production of peanut butter to determine how it may have become contaminated.

The CDC is advising people who think they may have become ill from eating peanut butter to visit their health care provider and to call their local health department. They’re also asking people to set aside the jar of peanut butter possible collection for further testing.

ConAgra Foods is asking consumers to discard the peanut butter but save the product lid for a full refund. To receive a full refund the consumer should return the product lid along with their name and mailing address to: ConAgra Foods, P.O. Box 3768, Omaha, NE 68103.

Consumers with questions or concerns about the recall can call ConAgra Foods 24-hour toll-free hotline at 866-344-6970. For more information about salmonella, visit the CDC web site.

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