FDA revises peanut butter warning

Feb 19, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – In the wake of a national Salmonella outbreak, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revised its warning about potentially tainted peanut butter to include all Peter Pan peanut butter products bought since May 2006.

The FDA’s initial advisory on Feb 14 said only Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter with product codes beginning with "2111" and bought since last May carried a risk of contamination with Salmonella enterica serovar Tennessee. But on Feb 16 the FDA issued a new statement saying the advisory covered all Peter Pan peanut butter bought since May.

All Peter Pan products are produced at a single ConAgra facility in Sylvester, Ga., and have codes that include 2111, the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) explained in a Feb 16 question-and-answer bulletin.

Jars of Great Value peanut butter beginning with the 2111 product code and purchased since May 2006 are still included in the advisory because they were produced at the same plant as the Peter Pan products. However, the FDA said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not linked them to any Salmonella cases.

The FDA has tied the tainted peanut butter to a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 290 people in 39 states since August. Among the hardest hit states are New York (32), Pennsylvania (23), and several southeastern states, according to the CDC. S enterica typically causes fever and nonbloody diarrhea that resolves in a week.

Forty-six people have been hospitalized in the outbreak, but none have died, the FDA said. Illness onset dates, known for 171 patients, range from Aug. 1, 2006, to Jan. 30, 2006, according to the CDC.

Two closely related DNA fingerprints of S Tennessee have been associated with the outbreak, the CDC has said. The DNA patterns were identified through PulseNet, a national network of public health laboratories.

The current outbreak is the second known instance of Salmonella contamination in peanut butter. In 1996, 15 people were sickened after eating peanut butter that was contaminated with S enterica serovar Mbandaka, according to a 1998 report published in the Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. Investigators traced the contamination to roasted peanuts.

See also:

Feb 16 FDA press release

Feb 16 FDA CFSAN question-and-answer bulletin

Feb 15 CDC update

CIDRAP overview of salmonellosis

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