(Adds FDA statement on retail sales)
By Jim Wolf
WASHINGTON Jan 17 U.S. health authorities told
consumers on Saturday to avoid eating products that contain
peanut butter until they can determine the scope of an outbreak
of salmonella food poisoning that may have contributed to six
"We urge consumers to postpone eating any products that may
contain peanut butter until additional information becomes
available," Dr. Stephen Sundlof of the Food and Drug
Administration's Center for Food Safety said in a
teleconference with reporters.
As of now, there is no indication that "major national name
brand jars of peanut butter sold in retail stores are linked"
to bulk supplies of peanut butter and peanut paste recalled for
fear of possible contamination, the FDA said in a follow-up
The company at the center of the matter, Peanut Corporation
of America, or PCA, said it had been informed by health
authorities that some samples of its products had tested
positive for a salmonella strain that may have originated in a
Blakely, Georgia, peanut processing plant.
The peanut butter and peanut paste recalled by PCA was used
by many other manufacturers to make such products as cakes,
crackers, candies, cookies and ice cream, the FDA said.
"In terms of food products which contain peanut butter, but
have not yet been recalled, we urge consumers to postpone
eating these products until information becomes available about
whether that product may be affected," an e-mailed statement
said. "We have been advised by manufacturers that product
specific information may be available within the next few
The FDA is asking companies to check the records of their
supply chain and determine if their ingredients came from PCA,
and if so, to take "appropriate precautionary measures."
As of Friday night, 474 people had been reported infected
by a salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter by public
health authorities in 43 of the 50 U.S. states, the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention said.
Twenty-three percent of the known cases had resulted in
hospitalizations and the infections may have contributed to six
deaths, said Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the Centers'
division of Foodborne, Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases.
The very young, elderly and immuno-compromised were the
most severely affected, he said in the teleconference. The
reported illnesses began in September and 21 cases were
reported on Friday.
The recalled peanut butter was sold in containers ranging
in size from 5 pounds (2.3 kg) to 1,700 pounds (771 kg) and the
peanut paste was sold in sizes ranging from 35-pound (16-kg)
containers to tanker containers. None of the peanut butter or
peanut paste being recalled so far is sold through retail
stores, PCA said.
Kellogg Co (K.N) said late on Friday it was recalling
certain products that "have the potential to be contaminated,"
including some Austin and Keebler branded peanut butter snacks
and some Famous Amos and Keebler Soft Batch cookies.
(Reporting by Jim Wolf; Editing by Peter Cooney)