Health inspectors remove products with peanut butter from store shelves in response to US salmonella

Health inspectors have removed from supermarket and mini-market shelves products made by the Peanut Corporation of America as well as Keebler and Amos products that have peanut butter in them that may have the potential to be contaminated with the salmonella bacterium.

These products are cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream.

The salmonella outbreak in the US has killed at least eight people, and has sickened over 500 others sick in 43 American states.

Inspectors from the Hygiene & Veterinary Department are continuing to carry out investigations in products related to the salmonella peanut butter outbreak and will continue to remove them from circulation if found according to Acting Head of the department Maria van Heyningen.


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Sector Health Care Affairs family physician based sentinel system is already monitoring for any signs of gastrointestinal illnesses within the community.

Persons, who have purchased products that contain peanut butter made by the Peanut Corporation of America or who have Keebler, Austin, King Nut and Amos products which contain peanut butter, within the last two months, should throw them out in a manner that prevents others from eating them.

The public should postpone eating products containing peanut butter imported from the USA until more information becomes available about which brands may be affected.

Inspectors are visiting all grocers, supermarkets, mini-marts, gas stations as well as school canteens in order to ensure that possible contaminated products are taken out of circulation in the interests of public health.

Most of the aforementioned where applicable will be given a check list to control their order sheet and verify whether they have those products in storage.

The US Food & Drug Administration has traced the outbreak to a Georgia plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America, which manufactures peanut butter and peanut paste for distribution to institutions and food companies.

The outbreak began late last year and forced the Peanut Corporation of America to voluntarily recall products from across the United States.

US government officials have advised consumers to avoid eating cookies, cakes, ice cream and other foods with peanut butter until health officials learn more about the contamination.

Bacteria are the most common source of food poisoning. Salmonella is an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children; frail or elderly people; and others with weakened immune systems.

Healthy persons infected with salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain 12 to 72 hours after infection.

The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized.

In rare circumstances the organism may get into the bloodstream, producing more severe illnesses such as infected aneurysms, endocarditis, and arthritis.

Persons who have eaten any peanut based products and are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms are advised to contact their family doctor.

For further information call the Hygiene & Veterinary Department 542-2079.