US salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter, brand recalls product

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an outbreak of salmonella that has affected at least 399 people in 42 different U.S. states has been linked to King Nut, an American brand of peanut butter. In Minnesota, the state's Health Department announced that bacteria tests for the disease on a tub of creamy King Nut peanut butter had tested positive for the disease, initiating a recall by its distributor in Solon, King Nut Companies.

Peanut butter.
Image: PiccoloNamek.

Workers found evidence from these tests that the brand caused the outbreak. This has not been completely proven, however, as the Food and Drug Administration and King Nut itself are still conducting tests to discover if the case is isolated or related to the nationwide incident.

According to a statement made by the Health Department, the brand is used in many places including schools, hospitals, some restaurants and retirement homes, 20 alone being in Minnesota. A tub of peanut butter used inside of a retirement home where many of its citizens had become sick was tested positive by Minnesota's health department.

Cquote1.svg We are very sorry this happened. We are taking immediate and voluntary action because the health and safety of those who use our products is always our highest priority. Cquote2.svg

—Martin Kanan, president of King Nut Companies

Yesterday, King Nut Companies recalled all peanut butter distributed by their company. The president of King Nut Companies, Martin Kanan, said in a statement yesterday, "We are very sorry this happened. We are taking immediate and voluntary action because the health and safety of those who use our products is always our highest priority."

In a web statement, King Nut told all of its customers to "put on hold all of their peanut butter in question. A recall of this product will be announced Monday morning. At this point it is unclear what Peanut Corporation of America will do with regard to this case or the national case of the salmonella outbreak." The Peanut Corporation of America, located in Lynchburg but also operating in the states of Texas and Georgia, is the manufacturer for King Nut.

Salmonellosis is an infection of salmonella bacteria that usually results in diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. These symptoms are normally developed 12 to 72 hours after a person is infected, and can last anywhere from 3 to 7 days. Most of the time, the infected person will recover from the disease, but younger and older people have higher risks of it developing and becoming serious. Rarely, salmonella can cause hospitalization, and very rarely, it can lead to death.


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