Federal health officials on Thursday confirmed that the salmonella in samples taken from the Georgia processing plant is consistent with the bacteria found in the contaminated Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter, according to a news article in Healthday’s Website.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, inspections of ConAgra’s plant in Sylvester revealed the same strain of salmonella found in the peanut butter jars, which sickened 370 people across 42 states.
The article quotes Dr. David Acheson, FDA’s Director of Food Safety:
“All we know is that we’ve got salmonella bacteria that we found in the environment in the facility that matched the same strain that we found in patients that the states found in jars of peanut butter.”
He said the peanut butter became contaminated some time during the production process – between roasting and putting the product in the jar.
Experts say how the bacteria entered the plant will remain a mystery.
“How it got into the environment we’ll never know,” he said. “It may have come in on somebody’s feet; it’s possible there was somebody in the plant who was sick and didn’t know it. But that’s pure speculation.”
Although the specific lots of affected peanut butter were recalled, the FDA learned that ConAgra also sent bulk qualities of Peter Pan peanut butter to its plant in Humboldt, Tenn. The bulk peanut butter was used to make three brands of commercial peanut butter topping.
According to FDA officials, these included Sonic Brand Ready-To-Use Peanut Butter Topping in 6 lb., 10.5 oz. cans, and Carvel Peanut Butter Topping in 6 lb., 10 oz. containers. Both fast-food outlets used the topping until Feb. 16 when the topping was recalled. In addition, the contaminated peanut butter was also used in J. Hungerford Smith Peanut Butter Dessert Topping in 6 lb., 10 oz. cans, the FDA said.
Products include: Peanut Butter Shake, Peanut Butter Fudge Shake, Peanut Butter Sundae, Peanut Butter Fudge Sundae.
The topping was used in the following Carvel ice cream products: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Treasure, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Sundae Dasher.
It is not known if any of the reported cases of salmonella were connected to the peanut butter topping sent to any of the three commercial users. Officials believe more cases will be reported in the coming days and weeks.
This salmonella scare is getting more widespread and extremely serious as the days go by. I’m deeply concerned, especially for the elderly and the little children, who might have eaten these products because this is the demographic that is most vulnerable to bacterial infection.
Our firm is getting an increasing number of calls and inquiries about the peanut butter recall. The attorneys at Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys have decades of experience in the arena of food-borne illnesses. If you have been afflicted by salmonella as a result of the tainted peanut butter, call us.