Salmonella species growing on X.L.D. agar. Showing classical H2S production (Photo : Nathan Reading / Creative Commons)
A recall of Sunland Inc.'s Salmonella contaminated peanut butter and almond butter products was launched after related infections spread in 19 states of the U.S, according to the CDC. With 30 reported cases, 4 hospitalizations, and no fatalities, the illness epidemic has naturally caused anxiety among consumers.
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Sunland Inc. CEO Jimmie Shearer expressed in a statement, "There is nothing more important to us than the health and safety of our consumers, particularly the many families who enjoy our peanut butter every day. While the FDA, CDC, and State Health Agencies investigate to confirm the cause of illnesses reported, as a precautionary step, we have decided to voluntarily recall our Almond Butter and Peanut Butter products manufactured between May 1, 2012 and September 24, 2012. If you purchased these products, do not eat them. Please return the product to your supermarket for a full refund or dispose of it."
The CDC notes that 66 percent of all Salmonella cases have involved children under the age of 10, and that it is "especially important for children under the age of 5 years, older adults, and people with weak immune systems" to avoid infection if possible.
Huffington Post contributor Howling Voyager responds to the epidemic: "This is quite the list of recalled products. It's frightening how often -it seems once a week of late - these food recalls are going out. That said, I'm glad we make our own nut butters at home. Peanut, almond, even a nice little pecan spread. It's easy and a whole lot cheaper than buying mass produced. And, apparently, a whole lot safer."
As Voyager states, peanut butter isn't the only recent recall on the CDC's radar. Smoked Salmon sold internationally by the fish vendor, Foppen, was linked to hundreds of Salmonella infections, mostly located in the Netherlands.
Fellow poster, Joebobjones, writes, "This [recall] makes me want to whip out my mini food processor and make my own. Raw nuts, roast in oven for 7 minutes at 350, add a bit of oil to help it cream, and turn that sucker on. Salt it, sugar it, spice it, whatever."
Commentator Cecelia Nunn Haack speculates on the possible cause of contamination, saying: "I predict rat or mice droppings and dirty processing equipment [caused the epidemic]."
According to the Center for Disease Control, related illnesses have been identified in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
The following peanut butter brands have been recalled: Archer Farms, Dogsbutter, Sunland, Earth Balance, Fresh & Easy, Heinen's, Late July, Joseph's Natural Value, Naturally More, Peanut Power Butter, Open Nature, Serious Food, Snaclite Power, Sprouts Farmers Market, Sprout's, and others.
Supermarkets such as Target, Fresh & Easy, Harry and David, Giant Food, Shop & Stop, and Whole Foods have also been known to use contaminated nut products to prepare their own packaged items
For a full list of recalled products, click here.