FDA Issues Peanut Butter Recall After It's Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

Knoxville (WVLT) - All day long we've been hearing your concerns about possibly contaminated peanut butter many of you have in your cupboards.

ConAgra is recalling peter pan and great value brands of peanut butter with the code 2111 on the lid.

The problem, the peanut butter may be contaminated with salmonella.

Medical Reporter Jessa Goddard has more on what you need to do if you have the peanut butter and how to spot the signs of salmonella sickness.

The largest number of salmonella cases are being reported in Tennessee and four other states.

So, if you have a jar of Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter, there is a very real possibility it is part of the recall.

The affected jars, made by ConAgra , come from a single facility across the state line, in Georgia.

Hundreds of possibly contaminated jars have made their way here to East Tennessee.

And Thursday morning, grocery store workers scrambled to keep the outbreak from spreading.

At a local Food City, workers cleared carts full of Peter Pan peanut butter from their shelves, before they opened their doors Thursday morning.

The outbreak began last August, with two or fewer cases being reported each day.

But it was only in the past few days that investigators were able to hone in on a particular food.

"I've never heard about it in peanut butter before, exactly as you said. Eggs, we've had a problem in the dairy industry," says Dr. Sarkis Chobanian, from Gastrointestinal Associates.

Salmonella is known to sicken about 40,000 people in the united states each year.

Salmonellosis, as the infection is called, kills about 600 people annually.

About 20 percent of the 288 infected people have been hospitalized, but none has died.

"Salmonella, among the food poisonings, is fairly mild. It will present like a gastroenteritis, nausea, vomitting, diarrhea, bloating, cramps," explains Dr. Chobanian.

About 85 percent of the people infected in this outbreak say they ate peanut butter.

How salmonella got into the peanut butter is still under investigation.

ConAgra is destroying all infected products the company still has.

And ceasing production at the Sylvester, Georgia, plant until the exact cause of contamination can be identified and eliminated.

Meanwhile, ConAgra is advising you to destroy any Peter Pan and Great Value brand peanut butter, beginning with product code 2111.

To get a refund, consumers should send lids and their names and addresses to ConAgra Foods, P.O. Box 57078, Irvine, CA 92619-7078.
For more information, call 866-344-6970.

If you have the peanut butter with the product code 2111, throw the jar away, but keep the lid to get a refund.

ConAgra has a hotline set up to answer your questions.

It's 1-866-344-6970.

However, the company has been flooded with calls and the number may not work.

You can also contact the FDA with your concerns. That number is 1-888-INFO-FDA.

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