Peanut Butter Salmonella Scare Prompts Kellogg to Recall 16 SnacksJan 17, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP, LLP
Salmonella worries have prompted the Kellogg Company to recall 16 peanut butter-containing snacks. Earlier this week, Kellogg had announced a hold on several varieties of Austin® and Keebler® branded peanut butter cracker products over salmonella fears. But word that salmonella had been found at a Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) facility that supplies peanut butter to Kellogg led the company to issue a formal recall of peanut butter cracker and cookie snacks.
All of the products involved in the Kellogg recall were made on or after July 1, 2008, the company said. Products recalled include:
- Austin® Quality Foods Cheese Crackers with Peanut Butter - all sizes
- Austin® Quality Foods Cheese & Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers – all sizes
- Austin® Quality Foods Mega Stuffed Cheese Crackers with Peanut Butter – all sizes
- Austin® Quality Foods PB & J Cracker Sandwiches – all sizes
- Austin® Quality FoodsSuper Snack Pack Sandwich Crackers
- Austin® Quality Foods Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers – all sizes
- Austin® Quality Foods Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter – all sizes
- Austin® Quality Foods Reduced Fat Cheese & Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers
- Austin® Quality Foods Reduced Fat Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers
- Austin® Quality Foods Cookie/Cracker Pack
- Austin® Quality Foods Variety Pack
- Keebler® Cheese & Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers – all sizes
- Keebler® Toast & Pub's J Flavored Sandwich Crackers – all sizes
- Keebler® Toast & Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers – all sizes
- Famous Amos® Peanut Butter Cookies (2- and 3-ounce)
- Keebler® Soft Batch Homestyle Peanut Butter Cookies (2.5-ounce)
Peanut butter has been suspected as a source of a salmonella outbreak that spans 43 states since last week, when the bacteria was found in an opened 5-pound container of King Nut peanut butter made by PCA. Early this week, it was confirmed that the salmonella in that container was the same strain involved in the outbreak.
With the discovery of salmonella at PCA’s Blakely, Georgia plant, the federal probe into the outbreak has taken on new urgency. According to the Associated Press, Food & Drug Administration (FDA) investigators are focusing on peanut paste, as well as peanut butter. Peanut paste is used in everything from baked goods to cooking sauces. Companies supplied by PCA are being advised to pull their products from store shelves. PCA supplies peanut ingredients to at least 85 food companies, the Associated Press said.
Earlier this week, PCA recalled 21 lots of its peanut butter, including varieties sold under the King Nut and Parnell labels, because of the possible salmonella link. PCA peanut butter is only sold to institutions and food service firms, and is not found in retail stores. Prior to the PCA recall, King Nut Company, one of the companies supplied by PCA, recalled its peanut butters, also sold under the King Nut and Parnell's pride label.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 453 people in 43 states have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella. The agency also said an elderly man from North Carolina died in November from the same salmonella strain, bringing the number of fatalities to six. Two deaths each were previously reported in Minnesota and Virginia, and another occurred in Idaho. New cases of salmonella are still being reported.
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. 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.
This would not be the first time tainted peanut butter has been implicated in a salmonella outbreak. In February 2007, another salmonella outbreak prompted a recall of ConAgra’s Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butters. Those tainted peanut butters were ultimately blamed for 600 cases of salmonella poisoning across the country. ConAgra faulted a leaky roof and malfunctioning sprinkler system at its production facility for causing the salmonella contamination. The plant in Sylvester, Georgia was closed due to the recall, but reopened later that summer.