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Salmonella in Reese’s Peanut Butter snacks?

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Federal investigators are trying to follow the trail of the much-publicized peanut butter salmonella infestation that sickened more than 329 people across 41 states.

They believe this trail may lead to products that have not yet been recalled, including Reese’s Peanut Butter snacks, according to an article posted on www.consumeraffairs.com.

Hershey, which makes Reese’s products, insists it “does not source any peanut butter from ConAgra,” which manufactured the tainted Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter. ConAgra has also declined to say whether the Reese’s products contain any of its peanut butter.

Meanwhile the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not ruled it out and at least one consumer has reported to ConsumerAffairs.Com that she was sickened and missed work after eating a King Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

“I’m not trying to start a mass hysteria situation, but I did eat a King Size Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup product almost three weeks ago,” the Florida woman wrote. “I got sick with diarrhea later on that same evening and it was an ongoing thing for almost a week…I couldn’t sit down for more than 10 minutes without having to go to the toilet.”

Hershey officials say that the ConAgra recall does not apply to any of the Reese’s products and that these are safe to consume.

FDA spokesman Michael Herndon didn’t seem too sure about that.

“I don’t have any information on Reese’s peanut butter cups but ConAgra’s products were sold and distributed a number of ways, including to a number of institutional food establishments,” he said in an e-mail to ConsumerAffairs.Com.

He wrote that the FDA is trying to find out who these establishments and food service providers are. But a Hershey’s spokesman was elusive and refused to answer specific questions from ConsumerAffairs.Com about where the peanut butter found in the candy is sourced from and whether ConAgra plays any role in the manufacture of the products.

The FDA says the salmonella outbreak from the peanut butter is ongoing – which means, the contaminated product is still out there, in stores and in people’s homes.

Hershey’s must come clean and give consumers the information they need to protect themselves. If they are not sure, they should come out and say it, so consumers can decide for themselves if they want to take a chance and eat those products. Silence and elusiveness do no one any good and in the long run may cause a lot of harm.

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