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Veterinary Forum February 2009 (Vol 26, No 2)

FDA expands peanut butter recall to include pet food products

    ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to investigate the Salmonella typhimurium contamination of peanut butter and paste at the Blakely, Ga., facility of Peanut Corporation of American (PCA) and said that the recall now includes some pet food products.

    Through a combination of epidemiologic analysis and laboratory testing by state officials in Minnesota and Connecticut, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed that the sources of the outbreak of illnesses caused by S. typhimurium are peanut butter and peanut paste produced at the Blakely processing plant.

    The FDA has no evidence to suggest that the S. typhimurium contamination originated with any other major manufacturing facility other than PCA. The company has recalled peanut butter and peanut paste produced from July 1, 2008, to the present.

    Many companies that received peanut butter or peanut paste from PCA have issued recalls. A searchable list of recalled products can be found at http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/. As the investigation continues and new information becomes available, the FDA will update its list of recalled products.

    Peanut butter is sold by PCA in bulk containers ranging in size from 5 to 1,700 lb, and peanut paste is sold in sizes ranging from 35-lb containers to products sold by the tanker container. Neither product is sold directly to consumers.

    However, through its investigation, the FDA has determined that PCA distributed potentially contaminated products to more than 70 firms for use as an ingredient in hundreds of items, including cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream. Companies that received products from PCA have voluntarily recalled their products.

    Identification of products subject to recall is ongoing, and the list is being updated frequently.

    Product recalls now include some pet food products that contain peanut paste that was made by PCA. While the risk of animals contracting salmonellosis is minimal, there is risk to humans when they handle tainted products. It is important for people, including children, to wash their hands before and after feeding treats to pets. Further information for consumers is located in the "Frequently Asked Questions" section at www.fda.gov. The pet food products also are included in the searchable database of recalled products.

    Major national brands of jarred peanut butter found in grocery stores are not affected by the PCA recall.

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