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Posts Tagged ‘outbreak’

Salmonella, Not Just For Chicken (or Peanut Butter)

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP)–Malaysia’s health ministry Thursday said it was investigating the Famous Amos cookie chain after it withdrew dough from several of its outlets amid fears it was contaminated by the salmonella bacterium.

The action followed an outbreak of salmonella poisoning in the U.S., which has made at least 474 people sick since September as a result of infected peanut- butter and peanut-paste dough, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, Web site.

The health ministry said it had started a probe into Famous Amos, a unit of Kellogg Co. (K), based on information it received that the infected dough had been exported to Malaysia for the company’s use.

“The health ministry has investigated and found the company is indeed using the dough, which contains peanut butter and peanut paste, which is imported from the Peanut Corporation of America,” it said in a statement.

“The company has withdrawn the dough, which is sold at three of its premises,” it added.

Famous Amos company representatives said the company did use peanut butter in cookies in Malaysia but that all its cookies were safe for consumption.

“There is only one dough (suspected of being contaminated with salmonella), called premium choice, which we had carried and (which was only) available in limited locations,” the company’s general manager Jesrina Liew said.

“The batch, which they suspected of contamination, is still in our inventory and has not been distributed yet. (The premium choice cookies) we have recalled were from an earlier batch of dough and had not been contaminated,” she added.

The salmonella bacterium is spread most often by the consumption of food contaminated by animal fecal matter, according to health experts.

The microbe usually flourishes within the intestinal tracts of fowl and mammals.

An estimated 1.4 million human salmonella infections occur each year, causing about 15,000 hospitalizations and 400 deaths, according to the CDC.


Salmonella - Not Just For Raw Animal Meat & Byproducts

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Salmonella, a bacterium often found in undercooked meats and raw eggs, can also be found in other foods as well. The latest outbreak, which has been responsible for over 400 cases in 42 states since the fall of 2008, is the result of peanut butter. On Saturday January 11th, King Nut Companies of Solon, Ohio recalled all brands of peanut butter distributed under the company’s name after it was discovered the day before by Minnesota health officials that salmonella was present in a five-pound open container of creamy King Nut peanut butter that company distributes to hospitals and schools. Their products are not sold directly to consumers and business clients have been asked to take all King Nut peanut butter and Parnell’s Pride peanut butter distributed by King Nut out of distribution immediately

Martin Kanan the president and CEO of King Nut Companies issued an apology for the outbreak and said that the company took immediate action to ensure safety.

“We are very sorry this happened,” said Martin Kanan, president and chief executive officer of King Nut Companies. “We are taking immediate and voluntary action because the health and safety of those who use our products is always our highest priority.”

The CDC says ingesting foods that have been infected with animal waste normally contracts salmonella bacteria contamination. The symptoms that people generally experience are abdominal cramps, diarrhea and fever, which generally occur within three days after contamination. The infection usually disappears after seven days & often does not require treatment, though some people have been hospitalized due to dehydration.

For more information about the recall, please visit

Salmonella Outbreak in 42 States

Friday, January 9th, 2009

A new outbreak of salmonella, the bacteria that causes nasty diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, has the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scrambling to discover the source, which is almost certainly a food that’s been sold around the country. So far, 388 people have been reported sick in 42 states, in an outbreak that’s been going on since last fall.

Salmonella is one bad bug you don’t want to get, particularly because it can cause serious illness or death in young children, the elderly, and people with impaired immune systems. Finding a source can take weeks, because the CDC has to interview people who got sick, try to pinpoint what they ate, and then compare the lists. Until we know the cause, here’s how to reduce the risk of getting sick, based on advice from the CDC and infectious disease experts.

Eat well-cooked food. In recent years, some of the nastiest food poisoning outbreaks have been caused by fresh fruit and veggies—canteloupes and jalapeño peppers last year, and spinach in 2006. Washing doesn’t solve the problem, since pathogens can get inside the nooks and crannies of a cantaloupe rind, for example. There’s also evidence that leafy greens and tomatoes can slurp bacteria into their cells along with water, either in the field or during processing. As Doug Powell, director of the International Food Safety Network at Kansas State University, says: “Washing’s not enough. You gotta cook it.” If you’re worried, sautéed spinach is a better bet than salad. Cooking meats thoroughly eliminates pathogens common in chicken and ground beef.

Don’t presume that organic means safe. Organic standards don’t deal with bacteria, and in the nasty 2006 E. coli outbreak in spinach, organic spinach was among the culprits. Many organic foods are now grown overseas, where oversight is skimpy at best. So, buying organic is no excuse to slack off on safe food handling practices.

Keep a squeaky-clean kitchen. Chicken is one common food that’s almost always contaminated with bad bugs, and it’s easy to spread the bacteria to other foods via knives, cutting boards, and hands. Food-safety experts recommend keeping raw chicken and meats away from foods that aren’t going to be cooked, and washing cutting boards and utensils with hot soapy water. Some cooks use a bleach rinse on cutting boards, while others reserve a cutting board for raw meats only. This primer on common sources of food poisoning gives the lowdown on banishing bad bugs from the kitchen. Here’s the link for CDC updates on the salmonella outbreak.