Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Trader Joe’s Outbreak Involves Rare Salmonella Strain

Four of the 29 people state health officials say are infected with a rare strain of Salmonella Bredeney have been admitted to hospitals, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta reported Saturday.

No deaths have yet occurred in the S. Bredeney outbreak stemming from Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made with Sea Salt.

CDC says Trader Joe’s Stores removed the product sold in 16 ounce jars from its store shelves and recalled it. The peanut butter was also sold on the internet.

So far, the S. Bredeney outbreak spans 18 states. Consumers should not eat Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made with Sea Salt, according to CDC. It said it is especially important that the warning be heeded by children under age 5, older adults, and anyone with a compromised immune system.

Among persons for whom information is available, CDC said illness onset dates range from June 11, 2012 to September 2, 2012.

Ill persons range in age from less than 1 year to 77 years, with a median age of 7 years.

Seventy-six percent of ill persons are children under 18 years old. Sixty-four percent of ill persons are male. Among 11 ill persons with available information, 4 (36%) reported being hospitalized.

“This PFGE pattern has rarely been seen before in PulseNet, and in the past typically caused 5-8 cases per year,” CDC said. “Illnesses that occurred after August 29, 2012 might not be reported yet due to the time it takes between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported.”

CDC, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and California state health officials briefed Trader Joe’s on the problem on Sept. 20 and the retailer agreed to remove and recall the product at that time.

In a statement on the outbreak, FDA said most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.

However, in some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.

One thing not included in the CDC’s report was a state-by-state listing of where the ill persons reside. Among the states reporting cases, however, are Massachusetts (3), Pennsylvania (2), New York (1), Rhode Island (1), Maryland (1), North Carolina and Minnesota (1).

It is also not clear where the peanut butter was manufactured or whether is made by Trader Joe’s or a third party. Four years ago Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) was responsible for a nationwide Salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and injured over 700. And, PCA was turning peanut butter out under many brands for as many as 4,000 products.

© Food Safety News
  • marco

    Who is feeding their infant under 1 year old peanut butter!?