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FDA NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2009

Media Inquiries:
Stephanie Kwisnek, 301-796-4737
Consumer Inquiries:
888-INFO-FDA


FDA Warns Against Consuming Peanuts and Peanut Products Sold by Westco Fruit and Nuts Inc.
Westco/Westcott Products Linked to Recalled Peanuts from the Peanut Corporation of America

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers not to consume any peanuts or peanut-derived products sold by Irvington, New Jersey-based Westco Fruit and Nuts Inc. (Westco/Westcott) due to possible Salmonella contamination. Peanuts in such products may have been distributed by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), which recalled the peanuts because of concern about Salmonella contamination.

On March 23, 2009, FDA formally requested Westco/Westcott to voluntarily recall all of its products containing peanuts from PCA because such products may be contaminated with Salmonella. Investigations by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified products from PCA's Blakely, Ga., facility as a source of the current Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak and led to PCA's recall of the peanuts.Between Nov. 19 and Dec. 30, 2008, Westco/Westcott received three shipments of Oil Roasted Salted Redskin Jumbo Peanuts from PCA's Blakely, Ga., facility.
Westco/Westcott sold these peanuts in various size/packaging configurations and also used them as an ingredient in a variety of mixed nut products and trail mix produced between Nov. 19, 2008, and mid-Feb. 2009.

The FDA urges consumers to check whether they have peanut-derived products made by or distributed by Westco/Westcott in their homes. For those consumers who do, they should dispose of the peanuts in a safe manner by placing them in a plastic bag with bleach, seal the bag properly and place in a trash bin; they should wash their hands after handling. Salmonella is an organism, which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

As of March 15, 2009, 691 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 46 states, and infection may have contributed to nine deaths.

Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections, e.g., infected aneurysms, endocarditis and arthritis.

Individuals who experience any of the symptoms listed above after consuming Westco/Westcott peanut-derived products are advised to contact their health care provider. They also can report problems to the FDA district office, to FDA's Emergency Operations Center (301-796-8240) or 1-866-300-4374, or to FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) Adverse Events Reporting System (CAERS) at (301) 436-2405 or email at CAERS@cfsan.fda.gov.


For more information:

The FDA's investigation into the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak, including a list of all products being recalled

 

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