Around the Nation

Around the Nation

The Peanut Corp. of America plant in Blakely, Ga., may be linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak.
The Peanut Corp. of America plant in Blakely, Ga., may be linked to a nationwide salmonella outbreak. (By Elliott Minor -- Associated Press)
Sunday, January 18, 2009

Avoid Peanut Butter, Authorities Advise

National health authorities told consumers Saturday to avoid eating products that contain peanut butter until the scope of an outbreak of salmonella food poisoning becomes clearer.

"We urge consumers to postpone eating any products that may contain peanut butter until additional information becomes available," Stephen Sundlof of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety said in a teleconference with reporters.

As of Friday night, 474 people had been reported infected by a salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter by public health authorities in 43 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Twenty-three percent of the known cases had resulted in hospitalizations, and the infections may have contributed to six deaths, said Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the Centers' Division of Foodborne, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases.

The very young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems were the most severely affected, he said in the teleconference.

The company at the center of the case, Peanut Corp. of America, said it had been informed by the FDA that some samples of its products had tested positive for a salmonella strain that may have originated in a Blakely, Ga., peanut processing plant.

Bush Administration Resisting E-Mail Order

The Bush administration is aggressively pushing back against a federal court order instructing the most important offices in the White House to preserve all of their e-mail.

In court papers late Friday, the administration argued that a federal court has no authority to impose such a requirement on the offices of President Bush, Vice President Cheney and the National Security Council. The administration argued that none of the court's orders can apply to parts of the White House subject to the Presidential Records Act.

The issue arose Wednesday after U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. directed the White House to issue a notice to all employees to surrender any e-mails from March 2003 to October 2005. Justice Department lawyers argued that the order applied only to White House offices subject to the Federal Records Act, prompting a quick response from U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola. Facciola said that all White House offices must be searched for e-mail.

Cold Grips Northeast

BOSTON -- The bitter cold kept its grip on the Northeast, while higher temperatures brought relief to the Midwest and Southeast. A day after schools in a dozen states closed and Alabama was colder than Alaska, temperatures in the South climbed into the 40s, thawing water fountains and pipes. The Northeast, however, persisted under chilly air from Canada for another day with temperatures barley climbing into the teens in some places. The weather led to at least seven deaths and contributed to dozens of accidents.

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