Saturday, January 17, 2009

Not my cookies too?!?

I wrote about a week ago about the peanut butter salmonella outbreak that is causing illness all over the country. That has now been expanded to include all peanut products. Officials have tracked the salmonella back to a Georgia plant that provides peanuts to 85 food companies including Kellogg.

Keebler cookies have been pulled from shelves as a precaution and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it is no longer just a bulk peanut butter issue. They are now looking at all products that contain peanuts and peanut paste including baked goods containing peanuts.

The Blakely Georgia plant is owned by Peanut Corp. of America and provides peanuts to 85 different companies. Peanut Corp. has recalled 21 lots of peanut butter that they believe to be the culprit but some companies, such as Kellogg’s, have pulled all their products that contain peanuts from store shelves. Kellogg also pulled their Austin peanut butter sandwich crackers in addition to the Keebler cookies.

Officially there have been over 450 cases of salmonella illness and six deaths from this outbreak. An elderly North Carolina man died yesterday from the same strain of salmonella that has been found in the offending foods.

Four people have died in Minnesota and Virginia (two in each state) and one person has died in Idaho. Four of those five people were elderly. Food borne illnesses are generally worse in the elderly, young, pregnant and people who have reduced immune systems.

I personally am glad I haven’t had anything with peanuts in it for a while now. At the beginning of the outbreak, it was just coincidental that I hadn’t eaten peanut products but now that it’s been in the news, I’ve purposely avoided them. I suffer from Graves Disease which is an autoimmune disease. I just can’t take that chance.

While I don’t expect people to cut all peanut products out of their lives, I do think at this time it would be prudent to check all your packages for peanut products and specifically for who produced those peanuts and if it was the Peanut Corp. of America. 85 companies produce a lot of products. And many products either contain peanuts or were cooked in peanut oil and people are unaware of it unless they have a peanut allergy.

I have been known to enjoy a Keebler cookie on occasion however and knowing that Kellogg was worried enough to pull them from the shelves has me scared. The only upside that I can see from this outbreak is the companies will be more aware of the situation and hopefully do more to test their products BEFORE they are sent out to the public.


Ruth said...

Thank you! I thought the only news was the weather and the plane in the Hudson. I have been out of it. So I'm glad you wrote about this. We'll watch out.

Lucky people with peanut allergies for once!

Aaydens Mommy said...

ut-oh I've had the peanut butter crackers recently! Now I'm worried...I will be sure not to eat them again. Thanks for this informative post! I don't get to watch the news very often.

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