The FDA warns that this rare serotype of Salmonella 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. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.
The CDC reports 30 illnesses in 19 states with 4 hospitalizations linked to Sunland and Trader Joe’s peanut butter. With the help of Food Safety News and eFoodAlert, I have found a bit more detail on the make-up of the people in the outbreak.
- Arizona – 1 case
- California – 2 cases
- Connecticut – 3 cases
- Illinois – 1 case in McLean County with onset in August
- Louisiana – 1 case
- Maryland – 1 case. A child under 18 years old.
- Massachusetts – 3 cases
- Michigan – 1 case. A child in SE Michigan
- Minnesota – 1 case. An adult from Twin Cities
- Missouri – 1 case
- Nevada – 1 case
- New Jersey – 1 case
- New York – 1 case in New York City
- North Carolina – 1 case. An 8 year old child who was hospitalized
- Pennsylvania – 2 cases
- Rhode Island – 1 case
- Texas – 4 cases
- Virginia – 1 case in Eastern Virginia
- Washington – 2 cases. A Spokane teen and a Thurston County child
ConAgra Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter 2006/2007 – 715 Sickened – In November 2006, public health officials detected a substantial increase in reports of Salmonella Tennessee isolates. In February, 2007, a multistate, case-control study linked the consumption of either Peter Pan or Great Value Peanut Butter brands with infection. Subsequently the same strain of Salmonella Tennessee was isolated from unopened jars of peanut butter and from environmental samples collected from the processing plant. The product was recalled, and new illness reports declined. Insanitary conditions at the Sylvester, Georgia, processing plant were known about since 2004. On April 5, 2007, ConAgra announced inadvertent moisture from a leaking roof and sprinkler system could have promoted bacteria growth in the plant. Great Value brand was sold at WalMart stores.
Peanut Corporation of America, Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter – Containing Products 2008/2009– 716 Sickened with 9 Deaths – Beginning in November 2008, CDC (Centers for Disease Control) PulseNet staff noted a small and highly dispersed, multistate cluster of Salmonella Typhimurium isolates. The outbreak consisted of two pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) defined clusters of illness. The first cluster displayed a unique primary enzyme (XbaI) restriction pattern and an uncommon secondary enzyme (BlnI) pattern. The second cluster had two closely related XbaI patterns that were very similar to the first cluster and a BlnI pattern that was indistinguishable from the first cluster. Illnesses continued to be revealed through April 2009, when the last CDC report on the outbreak was published. Peanut butter and peanut butter containing products produced by the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely, Georgia, were implicated. King Nut brand peanut butter was sold to institutional settings. Peanut paste was sold to many food companies for use as an ingredient. Implicated peanut products were sold widely throughout the USA, 23 countries and non-U.S. territories.
As I mentioned earlier, in early 2009 President Obama said:
“At a bare minimum, we should be able to count on our government keeping our kids safe when they eat peanut butter,” the president said.
“That’s what Sasha eats for lunch,” Obama said, referring to his 7-year-old daughter. “Probably three times a week. I don’t want to worry about whether she’s going to get sick as a consequence of eating her lunch.”
I could not agree more.