Tainted peanut butter products causing illnesses

Aaron Krause • Oct 17, 2012 at 9:33 PM

A multi-state outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to a New Mexico company's peanut butter and related products has sickened at least 35 people from 19 states.

Huron County health commissioner Tim Hollinger and area grocers discussed the local impact for a story on the front page of Wednesday's Reflector.

State and federal officials are investigating the outbreak linked to products supplied by Sunland Inc., which ecently expanded its nationwide product recall.

The Centers for Disease Control has reported 35 people were infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney from 19 states.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

According to an FDA press release, the following was the timeline for the recall.

On Sept. 23, federal officials briefed Sunland Inc. on the status of the investigation. The company voluntarily recalled the almond butter and peanut butter products that were manufactured on the same product line as Trader Joe's Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter between May 1 and Sept. 24.

On the evening of Sept. 24, Sunland Inc. expanded their recall to about 100 products, which include peanut butter and other products made with nuts and seeds.

On Oct., 4, Sunland Inc. expanded its ongoing recall to include all products made in the Sunland nut butter production facility between March 1, 2010 and September 24, 2012. The company reports that it is adding 139 products to the recall, bringing the total number of products being recalled by Sunland Inc. to 240.

This expansion covered all previously identified Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Cashew Butter, and Tahini products as well as Roasted Blanched Peanut Products. New product categories added to the list were several varieties of flavored butters and spreads, including Thai Ginger Butter, Chocolate Butter and Banana Butter.

In the expansion on Oct. 4, Sunland Inc. added 49 products that are currently within the manufacturer's recommended shelf-life. The expansion also covered 90 products consumers may still have in their homes which are older than the "Best-If-Used-By" date .

On Oct. 5, the FDA announced that environmental samples taken in the Sunland Inc. nut butter production facility show the presence of Salmonella.

On Oct. 12, Sunland Inc. expanded its ongoing recall to include raw and roasted shelled and in-shell peanuts sold in quantities from two ounces to 50 pounds which are within their current shelf life or have no stated expiration date.

For more information on the recall, call Sunland's 24-hour hotline at (866) 837-1018. A complete list of the recalled products is available at www.fda.gov.

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