Peanut Butter Recall Grows - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Peanut Butter Recall Grows

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Little Debbie peanut butter crackers are the latest being recalled because of possible salmonella contamination.

The voluntary recall covers all sizes of two kinds of sandwich crackers - Little Debbie peanut butter toasty crackers and Little Debbie peanut butter cheese crackers.

The company says no other Little Debbie products are involved in the recall.

Federal health officials have urged people to avoid eating cookies, cakes, ice cream and other foods that contain peanut butter until more is known about a deadly outbreak of salmonella contamination.

Officials are focusing on peanut paste, as well as peanut butter, produced at a Blakely, Georgia facility owned by Peanut Corp. of America.

The Food and Drug Administration advises you to avoid eating any prducts that contain peanut butter.

The FDA's investigation into salmonella contamination of peanut butter now includes not only peanut butter, but products containing peanut butter.

The warning covers products such as cookies, crackers, ice cream, cereal and candy that contain peanut butter. On Friday, Keebler and Austin voluntarily recalled various types of peanut butter crackers.

The FDA says peanut butter sold in retail stores is not a problem.

But it suggests that people who have products made with peanut butter on their shelves hold off on eating them until more is known.

At the center of the investigation is a peanut processing facility in Blakely, Georgia. Contamination has been found at the plant, but it's not yet confirmed that it's the same strain that's killed six people and sickened more than 400 nationwide.

The salmonella came to light after residents of oa Minnesota long term care facility became ill after eating peanut butter. That peanut butter was made by the Blakely King Nut, part of Peanut Corporation of America. The company has now recalled all of its peanut butter from the institutions and food service industries that bought it.

Here's the FDA statement.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Lynchburg, Va. (January 16, 2009) -- Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), a peanut processing company and maker of peanut butter for bulk distribution to institutions, food service industries, and private label food companies, today announced an expanded recall of peanut butter produced in its Blakely, Georgia processing facility as well as the voluntary recall of peanut paste produced in the same plant because these products have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The company on January 13, 2009 previously announced the recall of 21 lots of peanut butter produced on or after July 1, 2008.

Today's announcement and voluntary recall affect all peanut butter produced on or after August 8, 2008 and peanut paste produced on or after September 26, 2008 at the Georgia facility. The peanut butter 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 tanker containers.

PCA is notifying customers who received the recalled product by telephone or in writing, as well as through the news media and a toll-free 24/7 hotline number. None of the peanut butter or peanut paste being recalled is sold directly by PCA to consumers through retail stores.

"Today, the FDA informed PCA that new product samples in unopened containers tested positive for Salmonella," said Stewart Parnell, President of Peanut Corporation of America.

The FDA has not yet confirmed the DNA fingerprints of these positive samples to match the strains causing the outbreaks of food borne illness in several states.

PCA is immediately stopping all production at the Blakely, Georgia facility and notifying its customers to recall and retain all affected product produced during these dates at this plant.

"We deeply regret that this product recall is expanding and our first priority is to protect the health of our customers. Our company has worked around the clock for the last week with federal regulators to help identify any potential problems. Our Blakely facility is currently not operating as we continue to work with federal food safety investigators,"Parnell said.

Customers should call 1-877-564-7080 for further instructions on what to do with the product or visit the company web site at www.peanutcorp.com.

Eating food contaminated with Salmonella can result in abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and fever. Most people infected with Salmonella develop the symptoms 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover with treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. For more information on Salmonella bacteria, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Website at http://www.cdc.gov.

Peanut Corporation of America is a family-owned and operated business since 1976 based in Lynchburg, VA and operating facilities in Blakely, GA, Suffolk, VA and Plainview, TX. The company prides itself on the quality and freshness of its products and strives constantly to maintain an environment in compliance with federal, state and local regulations and guidelines to provide a clean, safe product. For more information, visit Peanut Corporation of America's Website at www.peanutcorp.com.

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