Extension News

Salmonella Contaminated Peanut Products Are a Concern for Iowans

Note to media editors: Listen to an audio interview with Sam Beattie, ISU Extension food safety specialist, discussing recent Salmonella outbreaks and peanut-containing products.

1/20/2009

AMES, Iowa -- Peanut butter and peanut products have been found to be contaminated with Salmonella and are being recalled. What does this mean to Iowans? 

“A lot -- if you consume certain products that are being recalled,” said Sam Beattie, an Iowa State University Extension food safety specialist.

The current situation with peanuts and salmonella is different than the earlier peanut butter related outbreak. This time, consumer packages of peanut butter do not seem to be involved, Beattie said. 

Peanut butter and peanut paste from a specific peanut processor in Georgia has been found to be the source of a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella typhimurium, the ISU Extension specialist said. The products involved are industrial sized containers of peanut butter and peanut paste that range in size from five-pound tubs of peanut butter used in institutional settings to tanker sized containers of peanut paste used in the manufacture of peanut flavored products.  These large volumes of peanut butter or paste are processed into a variety of food products including crackers, ice cream and energy bars.

“Remember, the consumer-sized jar of peanut butter that you buy at the grocery store has not been recalled. The recalls apply to certain products that contact peanut butter, peanut paste or peanuts,” Beattie said.

The products that are being recalled can be found at the FDA website, www.fda.gov.  Consumers also can use the contact information that manufacturers provide on the package to determine if a particular product has been recalled, Beattie added.

For more information about the recall, consumers can visit the ISU Extension Food Safety website, www.iowafoodsafety.org

Salmonella is a bacterium that causes severe gastroenteritis. Symptoms develop in 12 to 72 hours after a person has eaten a contaminated product. These symptoms are cramping, diarrhea and fever, with the diarrhea being most severe and potentially lasting for seven days. Because of the fluid loss with diarrhea, proper hydration is required. 

“If you believe that you have contracted Salmonella, you should see your health care provider immediately. Be aware that person-to-person spread is a possibility and could expand the illness to others,” Beattie said.

-30-

Contacts :

Sam Beattie, Food Science and Human Nutrition, (515) 294-3357, beatties@iastate.edu

Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-0775, lsternwe@iastate.edu