WASHINGTON — What started as a recall of peanut butter linked to a food-borne illness outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium and manufactured by an institutional and food service supplier has spread widely as food companies that bought peanut butter paste from the Peanut Corporation of America recall products that may contain ingredients manufactured at the company’s Blakely, Ga., facility.
The Food and Drug Administration, through the Minnesota and Connecticut departments of health, have tested and found products processed at the facility to be positive for Salmonella Typhimurium, the source of the food-borne illness outbreak that has sickened hundreds and been linked to the deaths of at least five people.
The findings prompted the F.D.A. on Saturday, Jan. 18, to take the extraordinary step of recommending consumers "postpone eating commercially-prepared or manufactured peanut butter-containing products and institutionally-served peanut butter until further information becomes available about which products may be affected." By Monday, Jan. 19, the F.D.A. had amended its recommendation and was telling consumers that if they had concerns about peanut butter-containing products in their possession, they could use a searchable database created by the agency to learn if the products had been recalled.
The findings by the F.D.A. led to a spate of product recalls over the weekend that included some of the industry’s largest companies, including the Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich., and General Mills, Inc., Minneapolis. On Friday, Jan. 16, Kellogg announced the recall of Austin and Keebler brand peanut butter sandwich crackers as well as some Famous Amos branded products. On Monday, Jan. 19, Kellogg confirmed that F.D.A. testing had identified the presence of Salmonella in one package of its Austin branded snacks.
"The food industry upholds certain operating standards and we are proud that we exceed these standards in our facilities," said David Mackay, president and chief executive officer of Kellogg. "Events of the last week suggest there was a breach in a supplier’s process that is unacceptable to Kellogg, our customers and our consumers."
General Mills is recalling its Larabar Peanut Butter Cookie flavor snack bars and JamFrakas Peanut Butter Blisscrisp flavor snack bars, because the peanut butter in the products was sources from the Peanut Corporation of America. General Mills emphasized no illnesses have been reported in connection with the products involved in the recall.
Other food manufacturers recalling products include:
• Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products, Inc., Downers Grove, Ill., which is recalling Wal-Mart Bakery brand peanut butter cookies, and Food Lion Bake Shop peanut butter cookies.
• Clif Bar & Co., Berkeley, Calif., is recalling Clif and Luna branded bars containing peanut butter.
• Nature’s Path Organic Foods, Richmond, B.C., is recalling its Peanut Butter Optimum Energy Bars.
• Abbott Nutrition, Columbus, Ohio, the manufacturers of the ZonePerfect brand is recalling several products containing peanut butter.
Several retailers also have been caught up in the recall, including:
• The Kroger Co., Cincinnati, which is pulling its Private Selection Peanut Butter ice cream from store shelves.
• Safeway, Inc., Pleasanton, Calif., which is recalling products manufactured by Ready Pac Produce Inc. and Orchard Valley Harvest.
• H.E.B., San Antonio, which is recalling H.E.B. Buddy snack packs.
• Meijer, Grand Rapids, Mich., is recalling two types of its Meijer brand crackers and two types of its private label ice cream.
For an updated list of recalled products, please visit www.FDA.gov.