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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Safety

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State Press Release

Salmonella recovered from King Nut peanut butter by MDA lab found to be a genetic match to cases in national Salmonella outbreak

Contact:
Doug Schultz
MDH Communications
651-201-4993
Michael Schommer
MDA Communications
651-201-6629

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- January 12, 2009 -- The Minnesota Departments of Agriculture and Health today announced that laboratory analyses have confirmed a genetic match between the strains of Salmonella bacteria found in a container of King Nut brand creamy peanut butter and the strains of bacteria associated with 30 illnesses in Minnesota and nearly 400 illnesses around the country.

MDA lab tests conducted last week discovered Salmonella bacteria in a 5-pound package of King Nut peanut butter collected from a long-term care facility associated with one of the reported illnesses.  The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issued a product advisory on Friday alerting institutions that may have received the product. MDA and MDH scientists performed additional testing this weekend to verify the connection between the contaminated product and the illnesses. 

State officials initially discovered the contaminated product through product testing conducted after MDH epidemiological evidence and an investigation by MDA’s Rapid Response Team implicated King Nut creamy peanut butter as a likely source of Salmonella infections in Minnesota residents. In the product advisory issued Friday, state officials urged establishments who may have the product on hand to avoid serving it, pending further instructions as the investigation progresses.

Eating food contaminated with Salmonella can result in abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and fever.  Anyone who believes they may have become ill as a result of eating this product or foods made with this product should contact their health care provider. 

King Nut peanut butter is produced by Peanut Corporation of America, of Lynchburg, Va., and is distributed in seven states by Ohio-based King Nut Companies. The product was distributed in Minnesota to establishments such as long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools, universities, restaurants, delis, cafeterias and bakeries. King Nut Companies reports that the product is not distributed for retail sale to consumers, and has voluntarily withdrawn the product from distribution.

Minnesota officials continue to coordinate their investigation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other states. 

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