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2/23
2007
ISSUE:247

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Peanut Butter Salmonella

CDC Confirms Peanut Butter Salmonella
Last Edited: Friday, 23 Feb 2007, 2:15 PM CST
Created: Friday, 23 Feb 2007, 2:14 PM CST
By ANNA JO BRATTON
Associated Press Writer
OMAHA, Neb. --
A week after ConAgra Foods Inc. recalled peanut butter from its Georgia plant after a salmonella outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the presence of the dangerous germ.
No deaths have been confirmed, although a Pennsylvania family filed a lawsuit Wednesday claiming a relative died from eating tainted peanut butter.
Opened jars from people who were sickened in New York, Oklahoma and Iowa tested positive for salmonella, said Dave Daigle, a spokesman for the CDC in Atlanta.
"Now the question becomes, 'How did the salmonella get in the jar?'" Daigle said.
ConAgra Foods Inc. last week recalled all Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter made at its Sylvester, Ga., plant after federal health officials linked the product to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened at least 329 people from 41 states since August.
Leslea Bennett-Webb, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Health, said the state recovered seven peanut butter jars from 11 cases confirmed by the state, and found the strain of salmonella in at least one.
In Iowa, Kevin Teale, spokesman for the state's Department of Health, said the positive match is from one of the state's six confirmed cases.
At least 51 people were hospitalized with symptoms of the disease between Aug. 1 and Feb. 2, with 60 percent of illnesses beginning after Dec. 1, according to the CDC.
Salmonella, which commonly originates from the feces of birds and animals, sickens about 40,000 people a year in the U.S. and kills about 600. It can cause diarrhea, fever, dehydration, abdominal pain and vomiting.
ConAgra learned of the test results Thursday, spokesman Chris Kircher said.
Gary Rodkin, chief executive of Omaha-based ConAgra, said Thursday that the company will take "all reasonable steps to remedy the situation."
"We are truly sorry for any harm that our peanut butter products may have caused," Rodkin said in a news release.
Government and industry officials have said the contamination may have been caused by dirty jars or equipment. Peanuts are usually heated to high, germ-killing temperatures during the manufacturing process. The only known salmonella outbreak in peanut butter -- in Australia during the mid-1990s -- was blamed on unsanitary plant conditions.
ConAgra has said none of its previous routine testing of plant equipment and peanut butter has tested positive for salmonella. The Food and Drug Administration last inspected the plant in February 2005 and found no problems.
The Sylvester plant is the sole maker of the nationally distributed Peter Pan brand, and the recall covers all peanut butter produced by the plant since May 2006. Shoppers are being asked to toss out jars having a product code on the lid beginning with "2111," which denotes the plant. The jars or their lids can be returned to the store where they were purchased for a refund.

Great Value peanut butter is a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. house brand made by several manufacturers. Great Value peanut butter that does not have the "2111" code is not included in the recall.
The family of Roberta Barkay alleges in a negligence and wrongful-death lawsuit against ConAgra that salmonella-tainted peanut butter killed Barkay and sickened her husband and daughter.
Barkay, 76, had been hospitalized with gastrointestinal problems, then developed a bacterial infection before she died Jan. 30, said her lawyer, Rob Peirce.
Her husband, William, was sick with similar symptoms late last year, after the Barkays bought the peanut butter, according to the lawyer and the lawsuit. Their daughter also got sick after eating the peanut butter while at her parents' home for her mother's funeral, Peirce said.
Roberta Barkay was not tested for salmonella, but Peirce said the peanut butter the family ate was part of the batch ConAgra recalled last week. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
Kircher, the ConAgra spokesman, said he couldn't comment on the specifics of the lawsuit.
"We're working to get in touch with that plaintiff's attorney to learn all we can," Kircher said Thursday.
Across the country, at least four other lawsuits claim negligence by the company led to the salmonella illnesses.

REFUND INFO:
To get a refund, consumers can return the product at the place of purchase or mail in lids with their names and addresses to ConAgra Foods, P.O. Box 3768, Omaha, NE 68103.
For more information, call (866) 344-6970 or visit ConAgra's Web site at http://www.conagrafoods.com

Testing finds salmonella in peanut butter jars from Georgia plant
Canadian Press
Published: Friday, February 23, 2007 Article tools
Printer friendly
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - Testing of opened peanut butter jars obtained from people sickened by salmonella has confirmed the presence of the dangerous germ, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said Thursday.
ConAgra Foods Inc. last week recalled all Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter made at its Sylvester, Ga., plant after U.S. health officials linked the product to a salmonella outbreak that has sickened almost 300 people since August. No deaths have been confirmed, although a Pennsylvania family filed a lawsuit Wednesday claiming a relative died from eating tainted peanut butter.
"We are truly sorry for any harm that our peanut butter products may have caused," Gary Rodkin, chief executive of Omaha-based ConAgra, said Thursday.
It was still unclear how salmonella, which commonly originates from the feces of birds and animals, ended up in the peanut butter.
Government and industry officials said the contamination may have been caused by dirty jars or equipment. Peanuts are usually heated to high, germ-killing temperatures during the manufacturing process. The only known salmonella outbreak in peanut butter - in Australia during the mid-1990s - was blamed on unsanitary plant conditions.
ConAgra has said none of its previous routine testing of plant equipment and peanut butter has tested positive for salmonella. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last inspected the plant in February 2005 and found no problems.

The Sylvester plant is the sole maker of the nationally distributed Peter Pan brand and the recall covers all peanut butter produced by the plant since May 2006. Shoppers are being asked to toss out jars having a product code on the lid beginning with "2111," which denotes the plant. The jars or their lids can be returned to the store where they were purchased for a refund.
Salmonella sickens about 40,000 people a year in the United States and kills about 600. It can cause diarrhea, fever, dehydration, abdominal pain and vomiting.
In the Pennsylvania case, the family of Roberta Barkay alleges in a negligence and wrongful-death lawsuit against ConAgra that salmonella-tainted peanut butter killed her and sickened her husband and daughter.
Barkay, 76, had been in hospital with gastrointestinal problems, then developed a bacterial infection before she died Jan. 30, said her lawyer, Rob Peirce.
Her husband, William, was sick with similar symptoms late last year, after the Barkays bought the peanut butter, said the lawyer and the lawsuit. Their daughter also was sick after eating the peanut butter while at her parents' home for her mother's funeral, Peirce said.
Roberta Barkay was not tested for salmonella but Peirce said the peanut butter the family ate was part of the batch ConAgra recalled last week. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
ConAgra spokeswoman Stephanie Childs said the firm cannot comment on pending litigation. Across the United States, at least four other lawsuits claim negligence by the company led to salmonella illnesses.


Salmonella colonies on agar medium

Salmonella outbreak widens to 41 states
Thu Feb 22, 10:43 PM ET
Source of Article: http://news.yahoo.com/
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An outbreak of salmonella food poisoning linked to peanut butter has widened to 329 people in 41 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday.
Local health officials in Illinois and Pennsylvania were checking to see if the deaths of an elderly man and an elderly woman might have been caused by the contaminated peanut butter.
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said all Peter Pan peanut butter bought since May 2006, and all of Wal-Mart Inc.'s Great Value peanut butter with the batch code 2111 should be discarded.
ConAgra Foods Inc. makes both, and has recalled all potentially contaminated batches.
The company said on Thursday that tests by some states found the salmonella bacteria in peanut butter produced at its Sylvester, Georgia, plant, where its Peter Pan and Great Value brands are made.
ConAgra spokeswoman Stephanie Childs said salmonella had been detected in its peanut butter in Iowa, and in other unspecified states.
"We are truly sorry for any harm that our peanut butter products may have caused," Gary Rodkin, chief executive of ConAgra, said in a statement released on Thursday.
"Our immediate recall of 100 percent of our product was taken with the assumption that a link could be found between our peanut butter and the reported cases of Salmonella. We are committed to taking all reasonable steps to remedy the situation."
The CDC has identified the strain of bacteria as Salmonella Tennessee, one of many strains of salmonella bacteria.
"Public health officials from several states have isolated Salmonella from open jars of peanut butter of both Peter Pan and Great Value brand. For four jars, the serotype has been confirmed as Tennessee and DNA fingerprinting has shown that the pattern is the outbreak strain," the CDC said in a statement.
Salmonella can cause nausea, diarrhea and other ill effects, but usually the sickness clears up on its own in less than a week.
The Illinois Lake County News-Sun reported a 77-year-old man died after having eaten peanut butter.
"Within 6 hours of eating the sandwich, he began exhibiting symptoms consistent with salmonella poisoning, including diarrhea, vomiting and fever," the newspaper quoted a
s pokesman for the family as saying. "That led to his pulmonary arrest on 2 Feb 2007."
The man had been undergoing treatment for cancer, which can weaken the immune system.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that 76-year-old Roberta Barkay of Ellwood City, Pennsylvania, died in January and her family was suing ConAgra over her death, although tests had not yet shown she died of salmonella poisoning.
Every year, about 40,000 cases of salmonellosis are reported in the United States and about 600 people die of it, according to the CDC.
The recall has forced ConAgra to shut its only peanut butter manufacturing plant, in Georgia, until it can determine the source of the salmonella.
(Additional reporting by Nichola Groom in Los Angeles)

CDC updates information on peanut butter recall
February 21, 2007
Source of Article: http://www.ift.org/cms/?pid=1000363
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control have updated their information on the large multistate outbreak of Salmonella Tennessee infections associated with peanut butter. According to the CDC, interviews comparing foods eaten by ill and well persons show that consumption of Peter Pan peanut butter was statistically associated with illness and therefore the most likely source of the outbreak. Although the study did not specifically implicate Great Value brand peanut butter, it is manufactured in the same plant as Peter Pan peanut butter and therefore is believed to be at similar risk of contamination.

Tests find Salmonella in peanut butter
23.feb.07
Associated Press
OMAHA, Neb. -- A week after ConAgra Foods Inc. recalled peanut butter from its Georgia plant after a salmonella outbreak, the Center for Disease Control was cited as confirming the presence of the dangerous germ as the number of sickened climbed to at least 329 people from 41 states since August.
Dave Daigle, a spokesman for the CDC in Atlanta, was cited as saying opened jars from people who were sickened in New York, Oklahoma and Iowa tested positive for salmonella, adding, "Now the question becomes, how did the salmonella get in the jar."
Leslea Bennett-Webb, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Health, was cited as saying the state recovered seven peanut butter jars from 11 cases confirmed by the state, and found the strain of salmonella in at least one.
In Iowa, Kevin Teale, spokesman for the state's Department of Health, was cited as saying the positive match is from one of the state's six confirmed cases.
ConAgra spokesman Chris Kircher was cited as saying the company learned of the test results Thursday.
Gary Rodkin, chief executive of Omaha-based ConAgra, was quoted as saying Thursday that the company will take ''all reasonable steps to remedy the situation," adding in a news release that, "We are truly sorry for any harm that our peanut butter products may have caused,"
Government and industry officials have said the contamination may have been caused by dirty jars or equipment. Peanuts are usually heated to high, germ-killing temperatures during the manufacturing process. The only known salmonella outbreak in peanut butter -- in Australia during the mid-1990s -- was blamed on unsanitary plant conditions.

U of I lab confirms salmonella in peanut butter
ERIN JORDAN
REGISTER IOWA CITY BUREAU
Source of Article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/
February 23, 2007
The University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory has confirmed the presence of salmonella in a jar of Great Value peanut butter that made an Iowan sick.
More than 329 people in 41 states, including six people in Iowa, have been
sickened by a strain of salmonella known as Salmonella enterica serotype
Tennessee.
Initial tests determined these people were suffering from the same strain of
the illness, with peanut butter as the suspected culprit.
The U of I Hygienic Labatory issued a report Thursday providing DNA proof to link
the cases to the Great Value brand, the university reported.
Following numerous reports of salmonella that occurred as early as August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advised consumers not to eat any Peter Pan peanut butter purchased since May 2006, and not to eat any Great Value peanut butter with the product code beginning with "2111" that was purchased since May 2006.
Both brands are manufactured at the same ConAgra Foods Inc. plant.
"The isolation of salmonella from the open jar of peanut butter is extremely useful to the epidemiologists in their investigation of this outbreak," said Mike Pentella, interim associate director of infectious disease programs at the U of I lab.
Salmonella is a bacterium that causes foodborne illness with symptoms including diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramping. At least 46 patients have been hospitalized from this outbreak.
No deaths have been confirmed.
Consumers can find additional information about this case of salmonella online at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, www.cdc.gov or by calling the CDC information line toll free at 800-232-4636.

Tainted peanut butter may be cause of woman's death: Ellwood city family ate recalled item
21.feb.07
wpxi.com
http://www.wpxi.com/news/11073319/detail.html
Robert Peirce and Associates, a Pittsburgh law firm is, according to this story, preparing to file a lawsuit against the maker of a peanut butter that was recalled last week due to reports of some containers having salmonella, and will hold a news conference in Lawrence County Wednesday afternoon on behalf of an Ellwood City family who were stricken ill ? one of whom ultimately died, the attorney says, from eating the peanut butter.
Attorneys said a 75-year-old woman from New Castle died on Jan. 30. Roberta Barkay and two of her family members ate the tainted peanut butter and fell ill.
Also on Wednesday, the story says, a Seattle lawyer has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of victims of the peanut butter incident.

Recalled peanut butter still on store shelves


2/21/2007 7:15 PM
By: Cait McVey
On Tuesday, our station received calls claiming Mike's Market in Syracuse was still selling jars of peanut butter possibly tainted with salmonella. When we went there to check it out, we found at least a dozen recalled jars still on the shelf.
When we went to the counter to buy one of the jars, the store owner immediately told us we couldn't, that he was aware they were recalled and was in the process of restocking the shelves.
Peanut butter still causes concern
It has been several days since the Peter Pan peanut butter recall, but that doesn't mean all contaminated jars have been removed from store shelves. Some consumers contacted our station, telling us Mike's Market in Syracuse was still selling jars with the 2111 recalled code. Our Cait McVey checked it out.
Although the owner has since taken them down, the jars of tainted peanut butter sat out on the shelf for nearly a week since last Thursday's recall. The Onondaga County Health Department says consumers still need to be alert when they are out grocery shopping.
"The FDA warning still continues, and consumers should not be consuming Peter Pan peanut butter with the code 2111 on it if they purchased it after August 2006,?Onondaga County Health Department employee Kevin Zimmerman said.
The warning also includes Great Value peanut butter.
It is a voluntary recall, so if you see either of the brands with the 2111 code on the shelf, Zimmerman said to alert the store manager. He also said if you already bought a jar, take it back.
Kevin Zimmerman
"You can send the cap back, or you can take it back to the store you purchased it at, and see if they'll give you a refund. That's up to the store,Zimmerman said.
Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include fever and cramping. If you think you're infected, Zimmerman said to contact a physician immediately.

Questions and Answers Related to this Outbreak:

Follow the arrow to locate the product code on the peanut butter jar lid.
View larger image.

What types of peanut butter are affected?

All jars of Peter Pan peanut butter purchased since May 2006 and Great Value peanut butter with a product code beginning with 2111 purchased since May 2006 may be affected.

I have a jar of Peter Pan peanut butter purchased since May 2006 or a jar of Great Value peanut butter with a product code beginning with the number "2111" stamped on the lid that has been purchased since May 2006, and I/my children ate some of it, but no one is sick. What should I do?

Do not eat any more of the peanut butter. Throw away the jar. If anyone in your family develops severe diarrheal illness with bloody diarrhea, fever, or symptoms lasting more than three days, they should consult a healthcare provider.

I/my household member ate Peter Pan peanut butter purchased since May 2006 or a jar of Great Value peanut butter that has been purchased since May 2006 peanut butter with a product code beginning with the number "2111" stamped on the lid that has been purchased since May 2006 and I/my household member is ill with diarrhea. I still have the jar. What should I do?

Do not eat any more of the peanut butter. Throw away the jar. If the diarrheal illness is severe with bloody diarrhea, fever, or symptoms lasting more than three days, you should consult a healthcare provider.

I/my household member ate Peter Pan peanut butter purchased since May 2006 or a jar of Great Value peanut butter with a product code beginning with the number "2111" stamped on the lid that has been purchased since May 2006 and I/my household member is ill with diarrhea. I no longer have the container of peanut butter. What should I do?

If the diarrheal illness is severe with bloody diarrhea, fever, or symptoms lasting more than three days, you should consult a healthcare provider.

I/my household member ate peanut butter that is not the Peter Pan or Great Value brand, and I/my household member is ill with diarrhea. I still have the jar. What should I do?

There¡¯s no evidence that this illness has been caused by the peanut butter you are describing. If the illness is severe with bloody diarrhea, fever, or symptoms lasting more than three days, you should consult a healthcare provider.

I have a jar of peanut butter that is not the Peter Pan or Great Value brand and I/my children ate some of it, but no one is sick. What should I do?

There is no need to do anything differently. You may consume the peanut butter with confidence.

What are Salmonella?
Salmonella are bacteria. The Salmonella consist of a range of very closely related bacteria, many of which cause disease in humans and animals.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
What does their name mean?
There is a great deal of confusion over the naming of Salmonella strains (even the people who work on Salmonella are confused!) but in essence, the strains which we will deal with here are generally different serovars of Salmonella enterica.

This means that they all belong to the genus Salmonella, a division that groups similar, though not identical bacteria together. These bacteria are named after the scientist who discovered them, Dr. Daniel Salmon. The majority of the components of these bacteria are identical, and at the DNA level, they are between 95% and 99% identical. (As a comparison E. coli and Salmonella, which are closely related to each other, are about 60-70% identical at the DNA level).

As their name suggests Salmonella enterica are involved in causing diseases of the intestines (enteric means pertaining to the intestine). The three main serovars of Salmonella enterica are Typhimurium, Enteritidis, and Typhi. Each of these is discussed further below. These distinctions are are designed to help scientists distinguish similar bacteria from each other in papers and when discussing the genetics.

To complicate matters, serovars of Salmonella enterica can be subgrouped even further by "phage type". This technique uses the specificity of phage to differentiate between extremely closely related bacteria. Often these bacteria are indistinguishable by other means, and indeed, the reasons for the differences in phage specificity are often not known.

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi. (Also called Salmonella Typhi or abbreviated to S. Typhi)
This bacterium is the causative agent of typhoid fever. Although typhoid fever is not widespread in the United States, it is very common in under-developed countries, and causes a serious, often fatal disease. The symptoms of typhoid fever include nausea, vomiting, fever and death. Unlike the other Salmonella discussed below, S. Typhi can only infect humans, and no other host has been identified. The main source of S. Typhi infection is from swallowing infected water. Food may also be contaminated with S. Typhi, if it is washed or irrigated with contaminated water.

Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (Also called Salmonella Typhimurium or abbreviated to S. Typhimurium)
Until recently the most common cause of food poisoning by Salmonella species was due to S. Typhimurium. As its name suggests, it causes a typhoid-like disease in mice. In humans S. Typhimurium does not cause as severe disease as S. Typhi, and is not normally fatal. The disease is characterized by diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and nausea, and generally lasts up to 7 days. Unfortunately, in immunocompromized people, that is the elderly, young, or people with depressed immune systems, Salmonella infections are often fatal if they are not treated with antibiotics.

Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis (Also called Salmonella Enteritidis or abbreviated to S. Enteritidis).
In the last 20 years or so, S. Enteritidis has become the single most common cause of food poisoning in the United States. S. Enteritidis causes a disease almost identical to the very closely related S. Typhimurium. S. Enteritidis is particularly adept at infecting chicken flocks without causing visible disease, and spreading from hen to hen rapidly. Many people have blamed the recent increase in the rise of S. Enteritidis infections on the use of mass production chicken farms. When tens or hundreds of thousands of chickens live together, die together, and are processed together a Salmonella infection can rapidly spread throughout the whole food chain. A compounding factor is that chickens from a single farm may be distributed over many cities, and even states, and hence Salmonella infections can be rapidly dispersed through millions of people.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

How does Salmonella cause disease?
After Salmonella is eaten it passes through the stomach to the intestine. Here, it binds to the wall of the intestine, and through some special proteins that it makes in response to the particular conditions in the intestine it actually penetrates the barrier between us and the outside. Once it has gained access to our insides, it is taken to the liver or spleen. For most other bacteria, this journey would kill them, however Salmonella has evolved mechanisms to prevent our immune system from doing its job efficiently. In the liver, the Salmonella can grow again, and be released back into the intestine.

Of course, not all of the Salmonella pass through the intestinal wall, and many of them are expelled from the intestine in the diarrhea. In regions with poor sanitation, these bacteria can than survive in the soil or in rivers and infect the next person, cow, chicken or mouse that comes along.


Where do I get Salmonella from?
Well, you can try the Salmonella Genetic Stock Center.

Most infections with Salmonella are traced back to dairy, poultry and meat products, but Salmonella can grow on just about any food. Chickens and eggs are particular high risk foods.


What can I do to prevent Salmonella infections?
The best way of avoiding Salmonella infections is make sure that everything is thoroughly cooked.
Other precautions as suggested by the USDA include:


Wash Hands and Surfaces Often

Wash your hands, cutting boards, dishes etc with hot soapy water before handling food.

Separate raw meat, poultry, and seafood from other foods in your refrigerator.

Cook to Proper Temperatures

Refrigerate Promptly