Salmonella outbreak in US tied to peanut butter

January 13th, 2009 - 1:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 13 (IANS) The source of Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 400 and may have claimed a life has been traced to peanut butter.Peanut butter tainted with genetic fingerprint matching the outbreak was tested by the Minnesota Health Department. The product is suspected as the source of the nation-wide illnesses, which began showing up in September of last year and have been documented in 42 states.

“The signs started pointing to something like peanut butter with a longer shelf-life,” said foodborne illness attorney Bill Marler. “It started to look a lot like the pattern that emerged in the 2006 outbreak.”

Marler’s firm, Marler Clark, handled the cases of many of the compensated victims of the 2006 Peter Pan/Great Value outbreak, which was traced to a Georgia plant owned by ConAgra.

“In that outbreak as well, we saw illnesses in many states over a long period of time,” continued Marler. “But I’m as surprised as the next guy that we’re seeing this again.” according to a Marler release.

Salmonella is a bacterium that causes one of the most common intestinal illnesses in the US: salmonellosis infection. It can be present in uncooked or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, or unpasturized dairy products, as well as other foods contaminated during harvest, production, or packaging.

Symptoms can begin six to 72 hours from consumption, and include diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and/or vomiting. Dehydration is a concern, especially with the elderly, very young, or immune compromised.

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