BATTLE CREEK Mich. Kellogg Co. said Monday that the Food and Drug Administration has verified that salmonella typhimurium was found in a package of Austin Quality Foods Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter, one of several products the Battle Creek manufacturer voluntarily recalled earlier this month.
The announcement by Kellogg Co. follows numerous recent notices of voluntary recalls by manufacturers of bakery, candy and ice cream products using bulk containers of peanut butter or peanut paste from Peanut Corp. of America’s Blakely, Ga., processing plant. The FDA said the plant is “a likely source” of a salmonella contamination. It also comes after the FDA issued a weekend blanket advisory to consumers that they avoid eating any commercial products made with peanut butter or paste until there is a clearer understanding of how many manufacturers used potentially contaminated ingredients from PCA.
As of Jan. 17, 474 people in 43 states had been sickened in the outbreak, with about 109 requiring hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Six people were infected with the suspect salmonella strain at the time of their death, but it is not yet clear what role, if any, the disease played in their deaths, the CDC indicated.
"We apologize to our consumers and customers, and we can't emphasize enough our disappointment and deep regret about this situation,” said David Mackay, Kellogg Co.’s president and chief executive. “The food industry upholds certain operating standards and we are proud that we exceed these standards in our facilities. Events of the last week suggest there was a breach in this supplier's process that is unacceptable to Kellogg, our customers and our consumers.”
Officials of Rockville, Md.-based FDA earlier urged users of bulk peanut butter and paste, including foodservice operators, to check their supply chain records to determine if they use PCA products and, if so, take precautionary steps.
Aregularly updated FDA website with information about federal and multi-state government investigations into the outbreak, as well as links to posted information about associated manufacturer and distributor recalls, is at http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/salmonellatyph.html#update . Specifics about the manufacturing lot numbers, products and brands involved in the investigations and recalls can be found in information available at the site, or links posted there.
The Jan. 16 voluntary recall by Kellogg, trailed others by Peanut Corp. of America of Lynchburg, Va., and by Solon, Ohio-based King Nut Cos., a distributor of peanut butter manufactured for them by PCA, which asked customers to pull products under the King Nut and Parnell’s Pride labels.
Since Jan. 17, voluntary recalls of specific foods made with peanut butter and peanut paste from PCA have been announced by:
- Meijer of Grand Rapids, Mich., tied to Meijer brand crackers and two types of Meijer brand ice cream sold in all of its stores and gas stations
- Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products of Downers Grove, Ill., including products sold in Walmart stores.
- Candy maker South Bend Chocolate Co. of South Bend, Ind.
- McKee Foods Corp. of Collegedale, Tenn., maker of Little Debbie brand snack foods.
- Perry’s Ice Cream of Buffalo, N.Y.
- Hy-Vee Inc. of Des Moines, Iowa.
According to the CDC, eating food contaminated with salmonella can result in abdominal cramping, diarrhea and fever. Symptoms typically develop 12 to 72 hours after infection and usually last from four to seven days, with most individuals recovering without treatment. In some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe as to necessitate hospitalization, the federal agency said, and, in rare circumstances the organism can enter the bloodstream, resulting in severe complications.