Peanut butter problem spreading - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Peanut butter problem spreading

SPOKANE, Wash. - Lab tests confirm new cases of salmonella that are the same as the outbreak strain that's been linked to peanut butter and reported in 43 states. 

Now a leading pet supply retailer has recalled some of its products as a precaution.
 
Concerns are growing and so is the list of companies that have issued voluntarily recalls of items made with peanut butter.

Among them are national food producers and grocers.

And now the pet supply retailer, PetSmart as a precaution, is recalling some of its dog biscuit products that contain peanut paste.

The salmonella outbreak is believed to have killed six people and sickened close to 500 others across the country.

"If you have any products in yours house that contain peanut butter I would hold off on eating." registered dietician Tara Harwood said.

Federal investigators have traced the strain of salmonella to a Georgia plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America. 

The company makes peanut butter and peanut butter paste and sells it to food companies, and institutions like nursing homes and schools.
 
Wheeler Elementary in Plainview, Connecticut is among the schools that have warned parents, and taken peanut butter products off the menu. 
 
Health officials advise consumers to avoid cookies, crackers and other foods containing peanut butter but there's no indication that jars of peanut butter sold in stores have been affected.

Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. 

Most people recover without treatment, but it can be deadly to some infants, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems.

Investigators are still trying to figure out how and why the contamination occurred.

The salmonella outbreak is the second in two years involving peanut butter. 

Salmonella is carried by animal feces and contamination can also occur when food handlers don't wash their hands thoroughly after using the bathroom.

It's the latest in a number of food safety scares in recent years that have shaken consumer confidence about the food supply.

For a complete list of products affected by this latest recall go to the FDA's web site at www.fda.gov.

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