As a Georgian, I was saddened to see that CDC officials have confirmed that there is salmonella contamination at a Blakely, Georgia factory that ships peanut paste and other products to 85 different companies. The outbreak of Salmonella has caused illness in over 40 states and has caused at least six deaths among the elderly.
Kellogs is recalling Austin and Keebler brand Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers and some Famous Amos Peanut Butter Cookies and Keebler Soft Batch Homestyle Peanut Butter Cookies.
It is still unclear if the salmonella strain in the Blakely plant matches the strain that has sickened people across the US. If the strains do match though, it is apparent that the peanut paste and peanut butter produced by the Peanut Corp. of America will have to be tracked down in every product it was baked in. Before I became an injury lawyer, I practiced as an insurance defense lawyer and handled food poisoning cases for Taco Bell, Olive Garden and Red Lobster. The key to prosecuting these cases is identifying the bacterial agent responsible for the illness and determining if there is a DNA match with the strains causing the outbreak. For the time being, Peanut Corp. has made a voluntary recall of all peanut butter made since Aug. 8 and all peanut paste produced since Sept. 26.
According to scientists at the CDC, salmonella can lay dormant and then when ingested, it can multiply rapidly. Typhimurium is the strain in question and it is most dangerous for the elderly and those with weakened immune. The most common symptoms are diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever.
Although it is still unclear how this strain broke out, if you come down with food poisoning, be sure to get medical help immediately.