Peanut Butter Recalled as Salmonella Search Continues

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By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter
Monday, January 12, 2009; 12:00 AM

SUNDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- An Ohio peanut butter distributor issued a voluntary recall Saturday for two brands of peanut butter after health officials in Minnesota on Friday said they had found salmonella bacteria in a tub of peanut butter that is distributed to schools and hospitals.

The recall, and the Minnesota report, could be the breakthrough in the search for the source of a salmonella outbreak that has struck in 42 states so far.

Officials from the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture issued a product warning Friday after preliminary laboratory testing indicated the presence of salmonella in a container of creamy peanut butter from King Nut, according to published reports.

Late Saturday, King Nut Companies of Solon, Ohio, announced it had issued a recall of all peanut butter distributed under its label and manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America, of Lynchburg, Va. The company also recalled its distribution of Parnell's Pride peanut butter, which is also made by Peanut Corporation, according to a prepared statement by King Nut.

King Nut, in its statement, said it took the action after salmonella was found in an open five-pound tub of King Nut peanut butter.

King Nut distributes peanut butter through food service accounts and does not sell it directly to consumers, the statement said.

The statement added, "King Nut does not supply any of the ingredients for the peanut butter distributed under its label. All other King Nut products are safe and not included in this voluntary recall."

"We are very sorry this happened," said Martin Kanan, president and chief executive officer of King Nut Companies. "We are taking immediate and voluntary action because the health and safety of those who use our products is always our highest priority."

King Nut customers are asked to take all King Nut peanut butter and Parnell's Pride peanut butter out of distribution immediately.

Peanut Corporation of America issued its own statement on its Web site late Saturday, confirming "the salmonella was found in an open container of King Nut peanut butter at a nursing facility" in Minnesota.

The statement added, however, that the finding "leaves open the possibility of cross-contamination from another source. PCA is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other agencies to determine whether the currentillness outbreak could be at all related to products made in the PCA facility."

The recall and the potential link to the multi-state outbreak come two years after ConAgra recalled its Peter Pan brand peanut butter, which had been linked to at least 625 salmonella cases in 47 states.


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