Fortunately, the contamination, which has made 370 people sick in 42 states, is limited ConAgra's Sylvester, Georgia processing plant. However, in addition to Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter, this plant also makes bulk peanut that was sold to restaurants, including Sonic and Carvel.
It is important to note that the outbreak is ongoing and while the initial warnings seemed to say not to eat 'jars' of Peter Pan peanut butter, remember that later warnings said that 'all products containing Peter Pan brand peanut butter' purchased since May 2006 could be contaminated, including the single serving packs of Peter Pan brand peanut butter.
And there is still the warning about all jars of Great Value brand peanut butter, which was distributed by Wal-Mart, that have a product code that begins with "2111" possibly being contaminated.
In addition to these jars of peanut butter, the contaminated peanut butter was also used as a topping at Sonic, Carvel, and restaurants that use J. Hungerford Smith Peanut Butter Dessert Topping.
Peanut Butter Recall Q&ALike most health stories in the news, the reports of the peanut butter recall and Salmonella outbreak created a lot of questions from parents, including:
1) Do my kids have salmonella?
If your kids eat contaminated peanut butter and then develop symptoms of a Salmonella infection within 1 to 3 days, then they may have Salmonella. Symptoms of Salmonella can include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps and they usually last about 4 to 7 days. Fortunately, most kids get over their symptoms of a Salmonella infection on their own without any treatment, although some do develop more severe infections and/or become dehydrated and need to be hospitalized.
Keep in mind that this is also rotavirus season, a virus which commonly causes similar symptoms, so just because your child has diarrhea, it doesn't mean that they have Salmonella.
2) What do I do if I think my kids have salmonella from contaminated peanut butter?
According to the CDC, they should 'not eat any more of the peanut butter. Throw away the jar. If the diarrheal illness is severe with bloody diarrhea, fever, or symptoms lasting more than three days, you should consult a healthcare provider.'
3) Should I throw away the jar of recalled peanut butter?
Some people are reporting that grocery stores are requiring the jar, and not just the lid, to get a refund. You can get a refund with just the lid or label from the manufacturer though.
Besides the concern over the refund, you can likely throw away your jar of recalled peanut butter. If your child has a confirmed case of Salmonella from eating the peanut butter, you might call your local health department to see if they want to test the peanut butter in the jar for contamination.
4) Are other foods with peanut butter safe?
If they were made with the recalled peanut butter, such as homemade peanut butter cookies or peanut butter sandwiches, then they could be contaminated and should be thrown away.
Since other manufacturers and other brands of peanut butter have not been implicated in the contamination, store bought cookies, and other items with peanut butter, should be safe to eat.
Even if you didn't any of the jars of contaminated peanut butter, if your kids had something before February 16 with peanut butter in it, such as a Peanut Butter Shake, Peanut Butter Sundae, or Chocolate Peanut Butter, etc., at Sonic, Carvel, or a restaurant that uses J. Hungerford Smith Peanut Butter Dessert Topping, then that could also be a source of Salmonella and you should call your pediatrician.
5) How can my kids be tested for Salmonella?
A stool culture can be done to see if your child has a Salmonella infection causing his diarrhea. Since many children are already better by the time the results of their stool culture would be known, a stool culture is not necessary for every child with diarrhea, even if you think that they have a mild case of Salmonella.
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