Federal health investigators have, in the past weeks, recalled more than 125 products in a salmonella-and-peanuts investigation that keeps getting bigger. The list of products ranges from cookies and ice cream to energy bars; even some dog treats are being recalled. Such products as Nutrisystem’s peanut butter granola bars, seven kinds of PetSmart’s Grreat Choice dog biscuits, and some Asian foods made with peanut sauces have been added to the recall list. In order to help consumers determine the safety of their food, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a searchable database of recalled peanut products on its website.
Kellogg recently recalled several of its Austin and Keebler brand peanut butter crackers; salmonella was later found in a package of Austin crackers. The common denominator in the outbreak has been products that include peanut butter or peanut paste made at Peanut Corp. of America (PCA). An investigation of the plant found salmonella contamination, though it was not the same strain that has been getting people sick. Salmonella in the plant, however, is never supposed to happen, regardless of whether it is the same outbreak strain or not. Although a small company, PCA does have more than seventy food companies as its customers.
Since the outbreak began in the fall, more than 486 people in forty states have gotten sick and six have died. The FDA believes the number of recalled peanut products will continue to rise, however no major brands of peanut butter sold in jars have been implicated. For more information on what products have been recalled, please go to www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/index.cfm