On February 14, 2007, the FDA warned consumers not to eat certain jars of Peter Pan peanut butter or Great Value peanut butter due to risk of contamination with Salmonella Tennessee (a bacterium that causes illness). The contaminated jars of Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butters have a product code located on the lid of the jar that begins with the number 2111. ConAgra manufactures both the Peter Pan and Great Value brands in a single facility in Sylvester, Georgia. Great Value (a Wal-Mart brand) peanut butter made elsewhere is not affected. Consumers have been told to throw away either of these peanut butter brands if they were purchased since May 2006.
Salmonella is a bacterial food poisoning that causes swelling of the lining of the stomach and intestines (gastroenteritis). Ingesting foods contaminated with significant amounts of salmonella infects the majority of people. Only a small proportion of infected people are tested and diagnosed, and as little as 1% of cases are actually reported. Salmonella poisoning normally occurs in small, localized outbreaks in the general population or in large outbreaks in hospitals, restaurants, or institutions for children and the elderly. In the United States, Salmonella is responsible for about 15% of all cases of food poisoning.
Anyone may contract Salmonella food poisoning, but the disease is most serious in infants, the elderly, and people with weak immune systems. In these individuals, the infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites, resulting in death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. In addition, people who have had part or all of their stomach or their spleens removed, or who have sickle cell anemia, cirrhosis of the liver, leukemia, lymphoma, malaria, or Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) are extremely susceptible to Salmonella food poisoning.
Causes and symptoms
Salmonella food poisoning can arise when someone drinks unpasteurized milk or eats undercooked chicken or eggs, or salad dressings or desserts containing raw eggs. Any food can become contaminated during preparation if conditions and equipment for food preparation are unsanitary. Symptoms generally appear about one-two days after infection, and include fever (in 50% of patients), nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps and pain. The illness usually ends in about five-seven days. Other infections that can be caused by Salmonella include:
- Bone infections
- Joint infections
- Infection of the sac containing the heart
- Infection of the tissues, which cover the brain and spinal cord
- Infection of the liver (hepatitis)
- Lung infections
Legal Help for Victims
If you or a loved one has been infected with salmonella poisoning you may have valuable legal rights, please fill out the form at the right for a free case evaluation by a qualified diseases attorney. Alternatively, call our toll free number: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).