The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an urgent alert regarding Jif peanut butter, manufactured by the J. M. Smucker Company facility in Lexington, Kentucky.
The FDA is investigating a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella linked to the peanut butter and has done genetic analysis on a strain of the bacteria found at the manufacturing plant in 2010, which matches the strain causing illnesses in the current outbreak. The company has recalled certain products which have been manufactured at this plant and the FDA recommends that all potentially affected products are not eaten. More information on the brands and some of the lot number codes affected can be found at the FDA website here.
14 infections related to the outbreak have been reported so far, with 2 people hospitalized. Cases have been reported in 12 states and because the products have a shelf life of around 2 years, officials are concerned more people could be affected as consumers are likely to store purchased products at home long-term.
If you or someone you know has eaten the peanut butter and is experiencing symptoms of salmonellosis, which include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, the FDA recommends contacting a healthcare provider. Most people will develop symptoms between 12 and 72 hours after consuming the bacteria and for most people, the infection can be managed at home without need for hospitalization. However, around 450 people a year die of Salmonella infections in the U.S. and young children, immunocompromised people and seniors are more at risk of severe outcomes.
This is not the first time that nut butters have been contaminated with salmonella. A huge outbreak in 2008-2009 linked to the now-defunct company Peanut Corporation of America sickened over 700 people and resulted in 9 deaths.