As I am sure you are aware, to date, there have been 529 confirmed cases of illness, from 43 states, caused by the outbreak strain of Salmonella typhimurium. One case has been reported from Canada.
The age of cases ranges from less than one to 98 years, with the median age being 16 years. Infection with this outbreak strain may have contributed to eight deaths so far.
Joint efforts of state officials in Minnesota and Connecticut, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have pinpointed the sources of the outbreak as peanut butter and peanut paste produced by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) at its Blakely, Georgia processing plant.
PCA has ceased production and expanded its recall to include all peanut butter and peanut paste produced at this plant since July 1, 2008. Neither of these products is sold directly to consumers; however, the peanut paste is distributed and used as an ingredient in hundreds of different products by more than 70 consignee firms.
Approximately 200 peanut butter-containing products including cookies, crackers, cereal, trail mix, candy, and ice cream may have been made with the ingredients recalled by some of the 2,100 customers of PCA. The list of currently recalled products can be found on the FDA website, yet unfortunately, is growing daily. Major brands of jarred peanut butter found in grocery stores nationwide have not been affected by the PCA recall.
We have been asked by some clients for guidance; and out of an overabundance of caution, we offer the following. For the time being, keep vigilant on the FDA website (http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/index.cfm) for any product that is being recalled, however, any other product other than peanut butter that is from major national brands and/or is in consumer packaging has been deemed to be safe.
All products containing peanut, peanut butter, peanut paste and the like, must be considered suspect, unless you have written documentation from any supplier that their product does not contain any product from PCA; since intuitively, if 2,100 firms received product from PCA and there have been only approximately 200 firms recalling (and some more than once) more product will probably be recalled over the foreseeable future.
It is for this reason that we recommend not ordering or serving any peanut product that could contain Salmonella contaminated ingredients. We will update this as often as necessary to keep you appraised.