- JANUARY 11, 2009, 10:08 P.M. ET
Peanut Butter Suspected In Salmonella Outbreak
Source of Article: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123172133257172179.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
An Ohio company recalled its creamy peanut butter after Minnesota health authorities
identified the sandwich spread as the likely source of a wave of salmonella
infections in the state.
Minnesota investigators found that every one of
the 30 people with recent salmonella infections in that state had eaten
peanut butter before falling ill, and confirmed in the "overwhelming
majority" of those cases that the victims had eaten King Nut brand,
according to state Department of Health spokesman Doug Schultz. The Minnesota salmonella strain matches the bacteria that
have sickened at least 369 people in 41 other states since early September,
authorities haven't connected the peanut butter to the national outbreak.
Minnesota officials, who are working with the
federal Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, expect further test results as early as Monday. CDC spokeswoman
Lola Russell identified peanut butter as "one of the major
hypotheses" for the source of the outbreak.
Kanan, chief executive of King Nut Cos., Solon, Ohio, which issued the
recall, said in a release, "We are very sorry this happened. We are
taking immediate and voluntary action because the health and safety of those
who use our products is always our highest priority."
woman in her 70s died. State health authorities are unsure whether other
medical conditions caused or contributed to her death, Mr. Schultz said.
Nut said it had purchased the peanut butter from Peanut Corp. of America of
Lynchburg, Va., and sold it under the King Nut and Parnell's Pride brands.
King Nut distributed it to universities, restaurants, hospitals and other
institutional food services. The brands aren't sold in retail stores.
Investigators discovered the salmonella in a five-pound container of King
Nut-labeled peanut butter at a nursing home. All of the Minnesota cases occurred in people who had
eaten at institutional facilities, Mr. Schultz said.
Corp. of America
issued a statement expressing its "deep regret" over the
"apparent finding" of salmonella in its product. But the company
said the contamination was in an open container "in a large,
institutional kitchen," raising the possibility of cross-contamination.