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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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Peanut-Derived Products Used as Ingredients

March 2009

Bulletin to Operators of Food Service Establishments and Retail Food Stores
Regarding Measures to Address the Risk for Contamination by Salmonella Species in Food Containing a Peanut-Derived Product as an Ingredient

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is informing the retail and food service industries, including institutional food service operations, that procedures used to manufacture finished products containing a peanut-derived ingredient may or may not destroy Salmonella spp.  Peanut-derived products include peanuts, peanut butter, peanut paste, peanut meal, and peanut granules. A recent multi-state outbreak of salmonellosis has been associated with consumption of peanut butter or peanut paste that was contaminated with Salmonella Typhimurium.  Some of the cases are associated with consumption of food products containing peanut butter or peanut paste used as an ingredient.

FDA wants to alert the industry that Salmonella, while considered heat sensitive, can become heat resistant in low water activity products like peanut-derived products.  The effectiveness of processing conditions used to reduce Salmonella spp. in a particular food product may depend on whether, and to what extent, an ingredient with a very low water activity is rehydrated.  In addition, the adequacy of a process, such as baking, to destroy Salmonella spp. in a particular food product depends on factors such as the highest temperature achieved in the coldest part of the product during the baking process and the actual duration that the product experienced this temperature. Operators of retail and foodservice establishments should not assume that routine food preparation processes, including cooking, will render peanut-derived products that may be contaminated with Salmonella (e.g., those that have been recalled) safe for sale to the consumer.

For these reasons, FDA is asking retail and food service operations to work with their suppliers to ensure all peanut-derived products used as ingredients or sold as food have been manufactured and packed in accordance with current good manufacturing practice requirements.  Retail and food service operations should take steps to ensure that their suppliers have a validated process in place to adequately reduce the presence of Salmonella spp. (e.g., by 5 logs) and work with their suppliers to ensure that all peanut-derived products used as ingredients or sold as food are not subject to an on-going product recall. Any peanut-derived products recalled by a manufacturer should not be used and should be returned or discarded.

During the past two months, health and agriculture officials investigated a multi-state outbreak of salmonellosis related to peanut butter and peanut paste manufactured by a single supplier, Peanut Corporation of America (PCA).  More than 40 states have had laboratory confirmed Salmonella Typhimurium illness cases matched to the outbreak strain.  PCA has recalled all peanuts and peanut products distributed from its Georgia facility since January 1, 2007.  FDA has determined that PCA's recalled products have been distributed widely for use as ingredients in hundreds of different products, such as cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream.  Companies all over the country that received product from PCA have issued voluntary recalls of their products.  FDA has created a searchable database for these products, which can be found at http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/index.cfm. The database may be searched by company name, product name or UPC code number.  Identification of affected products is continuing and this list is updated frequently.

For additional information on the outbreak investigation and FDA's recommendations to consumers and industry, refer to FDA's website.

CONTACTS: If you have any further questions, please contact the Retail Food Protection Team, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, at 301-436-2438.


Guidance for Industry: Measures to Address the Risk for Contamination by Salmonella Species in Food Containing a Peanut-Derived Product as an Ingredient March 2009