Salmonella Outbreak

01.12.09 | FL News Team

The salmonella outbreak in the U.S. has a lot of people taking a second look at what is in their refrigerators and freezers. The Centers for Disease Control reports the particular strain of salmonella that is being tied to the outbreak is typically found in poultry, cheese and eggs.

An Ohio-based peanut butter distributor is recalling two brands of peanut butter that may be linked to the outbreak. King Nut Companies issued the voluntary recall of King Nut peanut butter and Parnell's Pride peanut butter Saturday.

On Friday, health officials in Minnesota issued an advisory for King Nut brand creamy peanut butter after they found traces of salmonella in one jar. It contained the same strain of salmonella linked to an outbreak in the U.S.

The peanut butter was distributed to such places as hospitals, schools and restaurants in Minnesota, but it's not known to have been distributed to grocery stores. Officials say that although the bacteria in the peanut butter match the outbreak strain genetically, it is not certain if the peanut butter is linked to any cases.

At least 399 people nationwide have been stricken with salmonella food poisoning, with 70 hospitalized since September. A dozen Pennsylvanians have also come down with the illness, including residents from Luzerne, Lehigh and Clinton counties. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still attempting to trace the source of the outbreak.

Cleveland Clinic dietitian Tara Harwood, a food protection expert, says the best way to lower your risk of salmonella poisoning in general is to make sure you cook your food properly. She also points out that it's better to be safe than sorry because it's difficult to determine the source of a salmonella outbreak at this time of year.

Harwood says the symptoms of salmonella poisoning can begin 12 to 72 hours after the contaminated food was eaten, so it's important to call your doctor or health department if you do get sick, to determine if it's a food-borne illness.