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Peanut Butter Salmonella Poisoning
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Local stores yank peanut butter

Feb 17, 2007 | Matt Ringenberg, director of environmental health for the Logan County Health Department, said, as of Friday afternoon, he is not aware of any cases of salmonella in Logan County associated with the recent nationwide peanut butter recall.

Dr. Eric Whitaker, state public health director, has warned consumers not to eat Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter with product code beginning with the numbers "2111," purchased since May 2006.

The warning comes after a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Tennessee, a specific strain of salmonella that may be associated with the consumption of certain brands of peanut butter.

Ringenberg said anyone who has symptoms after eating suspect peanut butter should have the family doctor test for salmonella.

"The health department has some kits," he said. "People can do a self test and we can send the kits to the state health department labs."

Ringenberg said if anyone has a confirmed case, the health department would definitely want the peanut butter jar.

"We might be able to submit it for testing," he said. "They should keep the jar until the test comes back. Then if it's negative, they can throw it away."

Ringenberg said a couple of concerned folks have telephoned about the recall. He said the local health department is following Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines.

He advised anyone who has a jar of Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter with the 2111 code who does not feel sick to just discard the jar.

Local grocers are taking steps to make sure no more jars of the suspect product are sold.

"We pulled it all off the shelf and we did get some back," said Charlie Lee, co-owner of Lincoln IGA .

Lee said the store removed about 40 jars of peanut butter and by Friday afternoon had made refunds for 10 more jars customers returned.

He said part of the returned jars didn't have the suspect code, "but people get nervous about it, so we take it back anyway."

Coco Bill, a spokeswoman for Kroger in Indianapolis, said Kroger has notified all of the company's stores to remove all Peter Pan Peanut Butter products from their shelves.

"If customers have questions," she said, "we give them the hotline number for ConAgra (the producer), 866-344-6970."

Lincoln's Wal-Mart store has also emptied its shelves of the two brands.

"We pulled everything that is affected," said store manger Cody Atkins.

"We have also placed a sales restriction on it. That blocks the sale at the register in case we missed a jar.

"Our No. 1 concern is that our customers have safe products."

Atkins said Wal-Mart is working with ConAgra to get details and understand what happened.

"If customers have the product in question, they can return it to their nearest Wal-Mart store," he said. "Regardless of where they purchased it, we'll take care of it."

As of Thursday, five Illinoisans had tested positive for the form of salmonella that matches the national outbreak pattern associated with the peanut butter recall. The onset of illness ranged from Dec. 5 to Jan. 27.

Those stricken range in age from 1 to 27 and live in northeastern, northwestern and southeastern Illinois. The infection, which can cause diarrhea, fever and stomach pain, usually lasts five to seven days. This strain of salmonella also causes urinary tract infections.

Nationwide, the Food and Drug Administration has linked almost 300 cases of salmonella in 39 states to the consumption of Peter Pan brand peanut butter.

As a precaution, the ConAgra manufacturing facility in Georgia is recalling all Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter beginning with code 2111 on the lid of the jar.

Whitaker urged anyone who experiences symptoms after eating the implicated peanut butter to contact their health care provider and local health department. Health care providers with suspect cases may submit stool specimens to the state health department laboratory for testing after consulting with their local health department.

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