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Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 15, 2007
Contact: Ron Klein, Food Safety & Sanitation Program Manager, (907) 269-7583
Jeff Kasper, Department of Health & Social Services, (907) 321-3158

DEC warns consumers about Peter Pan and Great value peanut butter recall due to Salmonella

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[note: updated information released Mar. 1, 2007]

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are warning consumers not to eat certain jars of Peter Pan peanut butter or Great value peanut butter due to risk of contamination with Salmonella (a bacterium that causes foodborne illness). The affected jars of Peter Pan and Great value peanut butter have a product code located on the lid of the jar that begins with the number "2111." Both the Peter Pan and Great value brands are manufactured in a single facility in Georgia by ConAgra. Great value peanut butter made by other manufacturers is not affected. DEC is telling Alaska food distributors and retail markets to remove the recalled products from their supermarket shelves.

I f consumers have purchased any of Peter Pan or Great value brand peanut butter with 2111 on the lid since May 2006, they should discard it.

Salmonella is an infection caused by bacteria that can be found in contaminated food. Symptoms include fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. The illness typically lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without needing treatment. Some, however, may experience more serious symptoms and require hospitalization. Without prompt treatment, severe illness can lead to death. The elderly, infants and people with impaired immune systems are at greatest risk for severe illness.

Individuals who have recently eaten Peter Pan and Great value brand peanut butter beginning with product code 2111 and have experienced any of these symptoms should contact their doctor or health care provider immediately. Any such illnesses should be reported to state or local health authorities.

The FDA warning is based on a just-completed epidemiological study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the states and local health agencies, which links 288 cases of foodborne illness in 39 states to consumption of varying types of Peter Pan peanut butter. This report was provided to FDA on February 13.

To date, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services , Division of Public Health is aware of one case of Salmonella related to this outbreak. In mid-December, a 5-year-old girl from Alaska’s Gulf Coat region developed lower abdominal pain and tested positive for Salmonella bacteria. This child had eaten Great value peanut butter before getting sick. The girl was not hospitalized and recovered.

The outbreak appears to be ongoing and the first consumer may have become ill in August 2006. The cause of foodborne illnesses can be difficult to identify. As a result of extensive epidemiological testing and recent case control studies, CDC was recently able to identify Peter Pan peanut butter as the likely cause of illness. Great value brand peanut butter beginning with product code 2111 is manufactured in the same plant as Peter Pan peanut butter and, thus, is believed to be at similar risk of contamination.

ConAgra is recalling all Peter Pan and Great value peanut butter beginning with product code 2111 that already was distributed. The company also is destroying all affected products in their possession. The company will cease production until the exact cause of contamination can be identified and eliminated. ConAgra will advise consumers to destroy any Peter Pan and Great value brand peanut butter beginning with product code 2111 in their possession. To assist in this endeavor, FDA has sent investigators to ConAgra’s processing plant in Sylvester, Georgia where the products are made to review records, collect product samples and conduct tests for Salmonella .

Consumers who have questions should contact ConAgra at 866-344-6970.

FDA will provide regular updates as more information becomes available.

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