Salmonella Infection Numbers Still Rising; Recalls Rise Also

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By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter
Wednesday, January 21, 2009; 12:00 AM

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 21 (HealthDay News) -- The number of people sickened in the salmonella outbreak involving peanut butter products has now climbed to 486 in 43 states and Canada, with possibly six deaths, U.S. health officials said Wednesday afternoon.

Federal officials also confirmed Wednesday what they had first reported Sunday -- that the outbreak had been traced to a plant in Blakely, Ga., owned by Peanut Corp. of America. The company has suspended operations at the plant.

Meanwhile, peanut butter products continued to disappear from store shelves, as the weight loss company NutriSystem and one pet food producer joined the growing list of grocery chains and specialty companies issuing precautionary recalls.

The flood of recalls followed a U.S. Food and Drug Administration warning over the weekend that consumers should avoid peanut butter products containing peanut butter or peanut butter paste while the widespread salmonella outbreak probe continued.

The U.S. health warning is focused on products made with peanut butter or peanut paste, like crackers or cookies or ice cream.

Jars of peanut butter on store shelves appear to be safe, the agency said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, these were the latest precautionary recalls:

NutriSystem Inc., of Horsham, Penn., is recalling its NutriSystem-branded Peanut Butter Granola Bar, sold on its Web site but not in retail stores. Ready Pac Foods Inc., of Irwindale, Calif., is recalling certain vegetable products that contain peanut butter, including Trader Joe's Celery with Peanut Butter, which are sold in retail stores in 13 states.PetSmart, of Phoenix, Ariz., is recalling seven of its Grreat Choice Dog Biscuit products, sold at its stores.Premier Nutrition, of Carlsbad, Calif., is recalling select Twisted and Titan brand nutrition bars that contain peanut butter, sold nationwide and over the Internet.Nature's Path Organic Foods of Richmond, British Columbia, Canada is recalling peanut butter-flavored Optimum Energy Bars.Country Maid, of West Bend, Iowa, is recalling two-pound packages of Classic Breaks Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, which were distributed nationwide to fund-raising groups.Ready Pac Foods, of Irwindale, Calif., is recalling apple and celery with peanut butter packages that were distributed in 13 states.Clif Bar & Co., of Berkeley, Calif., recalled Clif and Lund brand bars made with peanut butter and sold throughout the United States. Abbott Nutrition of Columbus, Ohio, recalled ZonePerfect Chocolate Peanut Butter bars, ZonePerfect Peanut Toffee bars and NutriPals Peanut Butter Chocolate nutrition bars. The products were sold in the United States, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore.Kroger Co., of Cincinnati, recalled Private Selection Peanut Butter Passion Ice Cream, sold in some but not all of their stores. Safeway, of Westmont, Ill., recalled Ready Pack Eating Right Kids Apples with Peanut Butter and Orchard Valley Harvest's Organic Bark Peanut Butter Cookies and Cream, according to the

Associated Press.

Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products Inc. of Downer's Grove, Ill., has recalled all Food Lion and Wal-Mart Bakery brands of peanut butter cookies, peanut butter no-bake cookies and peanut butter fudge no-bake cookies. It is also recalling its nationally distributed Lofthouse brand versions of those cookies as well as Parco Foods' Chuck's Chunky brand of peanut butter cookies and Pastries Plus gourmet cookies.Meijer Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich., is pulling back two types of crackers and two varieties of ice cream sold in five states at its stores and at gas stations.The South Bend Chocolate Co., of South Bend, Ind., is recalling assorted chocolates, valentine hearts, peanut butter fudge and peanut butter chocolate fudge.General Mills of Minneapolis is recalling two flavors of snack bars: Larabar Peanut Butter Cookie snack bars and JamFrakas Peanut Butter Blisscrisp snack bars.McKee Foods Corp. of Collegedale, Tenn., has recalled Little Debbie Peanut Butter Toasty and Peanut Butter Cheese Sandwich Crackers. Hy-Vee Inc., of Des Moines, which distributes in several states in the midwest, recalled various bakery products containing peanut butter.Food Lion, of Salisbury, N.C., with stores in the southeast and mid-Atlantic states, has removed Bake Shop peanut butter cookies from its shelves. Perry's Ice Cream, of Buffalo, N.Y., announced a voluntary recall of select ice cream products containing peanut butter sauce, which were distributed in five states.

Meanwhile, Kellogg of Battle Creek, Mich., said Monday that tests confirmed salmonella bacteria in a single package of one of its recalled peanut butter crackers.

According to the Associated Press, Kellogg said U.S. health officials confirmed the finding in a packet of Austin Quality Foods Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter. The company had issued a major recall late last Friday for 16 of its products made with peanut butter, including Keebler cheese and peanut butter sandwich crackers and Keebler and Famous Amos peanut butter cookies.


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