More recalls linked to salmonella-tainted peanut butter - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

More recalls linked to salmonella-tainted peanut butter

SPOKANE, Wash. - Lab tests confirm new cases of salmonella 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.

Dietitian Tara Harwood says "if you have any products in your house that contain peanut butter I would hold off on eating."

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

Dr. Stephen Sundlof of the FDA says "strong evidence that points to that the Blakley, Georgia plant."

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 Plainville, Connecticut is among the schools that have warned parents, and taken peanut butter products off the menu. 

Marilyn Rodriguez of Plainville, Connecticut says "it's good to know because schools and day cares, they give that to kids so I'll keep my eyes open."

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.

As its 2009 cookie campaign gets underway, the Girls Scouts of America posted a statement on its web page saying its cookies do not contain peanut products from the suspect plant.

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

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 has 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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