The United States Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and others have investigated a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella senftenberg infections and they are linked to a product that many of us enjoy daily.
In this case, the salmonella outbreaks are linked to certain Jif peanut butter products manufactured at JM Smucker Company facilities in Lexington, Ky., and distributed nationwide, according to a recall alert issued by the FDA on 20 may.
The CDC’s review of epidemiological information indicated that five infected people reported eating peanut butter and four out of five specifically reported eating different varieties of Jif brand peanut butter before falling ill, the CDC said. .
The FDA previously performed whole genome sequencing analysis on a sample taken from the Lexington JM Smucker facility in 2010. Recent FDA analysis showed that this 2010 environmental sample matches the disease-causing strain in this current epidemic.
“Epidemiological evidence indicates that Jif brand peanut butter produced at JM Smucker Company facilities located in Lexington, Ky., is the probable cause of the illnesses in this outbreak,” the FDA reported.
JM Smucker Company has voluntarily recalled certain Jif brand peanut butter products with lot code numbers between 1274425 and 2140425 that were manufactured in Lexington.
What is salmonella?
According to the FDA, salmonella is a group of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever. Salmonella can be spread by food handlers who do not properly wash their hands and/or the surfaces and tools they use. Salmonella can also affect people who eat raw or undercooked foods.
Symptoms of salmonella include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. More severe cases of salmonellosis can include high fever, body aches, headache, lethargy, rash, blood in urine or stool, and in some cases can be fatal.
Symptoms usually develop about 12 to 72 hours after infection through consumption or exposure to contamination. The illness usually lasts four to seven days and most people recover without treatment.
The CDC estimates that approximately 450 people in the United States die each year from acute salmonellosis.
According to the FDA, children 5 and under, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to foodborne illnesses like salmonella.
What to look for
Check your Jif peanut butter squeeze jars or pouches for lot code numbers between 1274425 and 2140425 made in Lexington.
Jif peanut butter products included the creamy and chunky varieties. Also those marked as natural and with honey and Omega 3 and reduced fat varieties. These also include snack packs and no-sugar-added versions.
Where did people get sick?
Since the May 20 recall, 14 people nationwide have reported illnesses after consuming the product and two have been hospitalized in Texas and Georgia, respectively.
According to the CDC, the states with reported illnesses are Texas, George, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Illinois, Montana, Arkansas and Washington State.
what you should do
Consumers, restaurants and retailers should not eat, sell or serve any recalled Jif brand peanut butter that bears the affected lot code numbers.
Peanut butter has a long shelf life. Jif examples have a shelf life of two years, for example, so consumers should check any Jif peanut butter at home.
The FDA recommends that if you used the recalled Jif brand peanut butters, wash and sanitize surfaces and utensils that may have touched the peanut butter. If you or someone in your household has eaten this peanut butter and has symptoms of salmonellosis, contact your health care provider.
You can also try returning any jars or squeeze bags you may have purchased at the point of sale.