Radio Shows | Peanut Butter and Salmonella | mp3 … wma … wav
To quote one of my favorite contemporary philosophers, Yogi Berra, "It's déjà vu all over again!"
Peanut butter, the mainstay of institutional lunch programs and common snacks across America has been found to be contaminated with Salmonella.
The last time it happened was 2007 when ConAgra Foods issued a nationwide recall of peanut butter. Now a peanut processing plant run by the Peanut Corporation of America in Blakely, Georgia has been identified as the source of another major outbreak.
Health officials report since the end of January over six hundred people from nearly all states have gotten sick and multiple people have died. The FDA's investigation shows the contaminated peanut butter was not sold to consumers directly but it may have been distributed to hundreds of companies that used the peanut paste in their products.
Salmonella is an enteric bacteria. This means it resides in the gut of many animals and their fecal matter is a usual source of contamination with this bacterium. Within 12-72 hours of ingesting contaminated food or water you get stomach cramps, fever and diarrhea which is sometimes bloody!
This can last 4-7 days and, while you feel like you want to die, you rarely do! However, in people who are immunosuppressed, Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause a life threatening infection.
So, how did the Salmonella contaminate the peanut butter? Since peanuts are heated to high processing temperatures, any salmonella would be killed. Unless the peanuts were contaminated after roasting, and we hear there may have been public health lapses in the plant.
Plus, once salmonella is mixed with peanut paste, it can persist for a very long time.
Remember though, we have a great public health system and these events are rare.
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