Health officials warn of contaminated peanut butter

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 16, 2007

On February 14, the Food and Drug Administration advised consumers not to eat certain jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Great Value Peanut Butter due to risk of contamination with Salmonella Tennessee.

The affected jars have a product code located on the lid that begins with the number “2111”.

North Carolina residents who have jars of Peter Pan Peanut Butter or Great Value Peanut Butter with a product code beginning with the number “2111” should take the following steps:

Those who are not sick and have peanut butter jars matching this description should discard them.

Those who recall being ill in the past few months, but are not currently symptomatic should discard the jars.

Those who are currently sick and have open peanut butter jars matching this description should seek medical care.

The jars should be labeled with the sick person’s name and date and delivered to the local health department for storage.

Laboratory testing of peanut butter will only be performed if Salmonella Tennessee is isolated from patient specimens. It is also likely that only a limited number of jars from people with positive cultures will be cultured, so we cannot promise any given person that their jar will be tested.

Those who are sick and have peanut butter jars not matching this description (i.e., other brands or product codes that do not begin with “2111”) should be advised that these jars have not been associated with infection.

They should be encouraged to seek medical care if necessary.

Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days and most people recover without treatment. However, in some people the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. The elderly, infants and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.

According to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina has 15 possible cases linked to this outbreak The are scattered across the state, not confined to any geographic area. None of the NC cases, which affected patients from age 1 to 76, have been fatal.

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