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Peanut Butter Salmonella Poisoning
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Salmonella reported in O.C.

Feb 17, 2007 | The Orange County Register Orange County health officials learned Friday that a local case of salmonella matches the same strain linked to a batch of peanut butter that has sickened about 300 people nationwide.

The positive match is the only case found so far in California. The outbreak has been linked to ConAgra's Peter Pan brand and Wal-Mart's Great Value brand. No one knows how the bacteria ended up in peanut butter.

Howard Sutter, spokesman for the Health Care Agency, said the unidentified 68-year-old woman fully recovered. She was diagnosed in October. He said he did not know if she ate peanut butter, or if she did, which brand.

"We're still getting some history information from the individual," Sutter said.

The illness was reported to the county by the woman's doctor. The county will pass on more detailed information to the Centers for Disease Control. Anyone with symptoms of salmonella, which include diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever, should see a doctor.

Food banks, non-profit organizations and homeless shelters spent Friday scouring their pantries in search of bad peanut butter.

"We're going to go through each bin or barrel and sort through it," said Efrain Ramos, distribution supervisor at Second Harvest Food Bank in Orange County, which serves about 400 agencies.

The food bank, via faxes and telephone calls, immediately notified the agencies, such as homeless shelters, churches and recovery homes, when operators learned of the recall.

"We've handled this very responsibly, and I think all of the food banks will do the same. We want to get healthy food out to our clients, to our agencies," said Bob Wright, agency relations manager.

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