Unfortunately for the peanut butter and almond butter lovers among us…we may have a problem! No one wants to get diarrhea, fevers, and belly cramps from their almond butter dipped banana! Here is what you need to know about the recent (August, 2014) Salmonella Outbreak linked to certain brands of peanut butter and almond butter.
1. What is Salmonella and what to do about it?
Salmonella is a bacteria that can cause infection in the intestines, leading to diarrhea, dehydration, abdominal cramping, fever, blood in the stool, and headaches. Not pleasant. Salmonella infections usually come from “food poisoning,” or eating food that has been contaminated with Salmonella. Often times, people who are exposed to Salmonella do not get sick. Some people may not get sick until three days after they have eaten a contaminated product such as peanut butter. Usually, an infection with Salmonella only lasts for a few days to a week and doesn’t require any treatment. However, for children who are younger than five; those who are pregnant; those with weakened immune systems (for example: autoimmune diseases, undergoing chemotherapy etc); and the elderly, a salmonella infection can be more severe, leading to dehydration and other serious complications that mandate hospitalization.
If you have any of the signs or symptoms above, fit any of the high-risk groups, and have recently consumed potentially, contaminated peanut butter or almond butter…you may want to give your doctor a call…just to be on the safe side.
2. Is my peanut butter/almond butter contaminated?
Many different brands of peanut and almond butter were contaminated. Some of the more common brands included Kroger, MaraNatha, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods 365, and Arrowhead Mills. The list continues…
First you need to check what you have in your fridge and pantry. Pull it all out so that you can look at the brand and the skew (UPC) number on the jar. Here is a hyperlink to the FDA with a full list of contaminated brands. Just because you have a brand on the contaminated list, this doesn’t mean that your peanut butter is bad. Only certain lots were contaminated. That is where the skew or UPC number comes in handy. Simply compare the skew number on your jar to those provided by the FDA.
3. If I have bad butter…what to do?
If you have a contaminated jar you need to throw it out…NOW! It doesn’t matter if someone has eaten some already and not gotten sick…still throw it away. Don’t take it back to the store. Instead, put it inside of a plastic ziplock and put it in a sealed trash container. You don’t want an animal to get to it…they can get Salmonella poisoning too! For a replacement, refund, or more information you can call this number 1-800-937-7008.
Unfortunately, food contamination happens. Spread the word and get other people digging through their pantries! Although Salmonella usually isn’t life threatening; it is miserable and could land the young, the old, and those with weak immune systems in the hospital. For more information check out this hyperlink to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
From The Mom in Me, MD