The Centers for Disease Control have made an preliminary link between an outbreak of Salmonella infection and peanut butter. Studies of illness patterns by the Minnesota Department of Health suggested that King Nut peanut butter might the source of the bacteria. Strains of Salmonella Typhimurium were found in an open 5-pound container of King Nut brand creamy peanut butter in Minnesota.
In addition, clusters of infection have been found in schools and institutions in other states. King Nut was the only peanut butter used in those places. King Nut peanut butter is not sold to consumers, but is only distributed to institutional food service programs.
The King Nut Companies voluntarily recalled both King Nut and Parnell’s Pride peanut butters in an effort to prevent further infection.
As of January 12, 2009 there were 410 cases of Salmonella Typhimurium reported to the CDC in 43 states. One in five people affected were hospitalized, and at least three people have died.
Salmonella infection causes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramping that develops from 12 to 72 hours after eating a contaminated food. Illness usually lasts four to seven days. Although most people recover without needing treatment, severe infections can require antibiotics and hospital stays. Infants, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems, including cancer patients, are at increased risk for complications and more serious infections. In severe cases, Salmonella can spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and cause death if not treated.