Recall hits more snacks

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FDA urges caution over peanut butter

By The Staff

Retailers continue to pull selected snack food items from grocery store shelves after several food companies issued a recall on products made with peanut butter and peanut paste supplied by the Peanut Corp. of America in connection to a nationwide salmonella outbreak.

The FDA said the recall is not linked to any national name-brand peanut butter. The peanut butter being recalled is sold by PCA in bulk-packaging to distributors for institutional and food service industry use. Those most likely to come in contact with the tainted peanut butter are nursing homes, hospitals, schools, restaurants and cafeterias.

It was sold under the names, Parnell’s Pride or King Nut and was produced in 21 lots in 5- to 50-pound containers.

Still snack food makers aren’t taking any chances.

Kellogg Co. has recalled 19 products, including peanut butter sandwich crackers sold under the Austin and Keebler names, along with some snack-size packs of Famous Amos Peanut Butter Cookies and Keebler Soft-Batch Peanut Butter Cookies.

Kellogg Co. announced Monday that the FDA had found salmonella in one pack of Austin Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter.

General Mills has announced a recall of Larabar Peanut Butter flavored snack bars and JamFrakas Peanut Butter Blisscrisp snack bars because they contain peanut butter from Peanut Corp. and may be contaminated.

McKee Foods – which makes Little Debbie Snacks – has recalled its peanut butter toasty sandwich crackers and peanut butter cheese sandwich crackers made since July 1. The crackers were made for Little Debbie by Kellogg.

Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products, Inc., has announced the recall all Wal-Mart “bakery” brands of peanut butter cookies, peanut butter no-bake cookies and peanut butter fudge no-bake cookies. Similar brands were removed from Food Lion stores, too.

At least 85 companies bought peanut butter and peanut paste produced in the Georgia plant.

Lance, Tasty Baking, Hersheys and ConAgra Foods have issued releases that their products made with peanut butter or peanut-based ingredients are not impacted by the recall since they do not buy peanut butter from PCA.  

The FDA said consumers should avoid eating snack foods and foods containing peanut butter unless they know it isn’t linked to product manufactured by Peanut Corp.

Stewart Parnell, owner and president of Peanut Corp., said in a release that consumer safety is the first priority.

“We deeply regret that this has happened,” Parnell said. “Out of an abundance of caution, we are voluntarily withdrawing this product and contacting our customers.”

Eating food contaminated with salmonella can result in abdominal cramping, diarrhea and fever. Many people infected with salmonella usually develop symptoms 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days with most people recovering without treatment.

However, the infection can be serious in the elderly, infants and those with weakened immune systems. In some instances, the diarrhea can be so severe that patients must be hospitalized.

So far, at least 474 people in 43 states have become sick during the salmonella outbreak. Product samples from Connecticut, Minnesota and Virginia has tested positive for the salmonella bacteria, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Analysis by the Georgia Department of Agriculture found peanut butter from the plant tested positive for salmonella, but tests to determine if that salmonella is an exact DNA match to the outbreak strain are still ongoing.

The Peanut Corp. of America has set up a toll-free 24-hour number 1-877-564-7080 to answer questions or consumers can visit the company Web site, www.peanutcorp.com for additional details.