Salmonella outbreak causes concern across United States
Published 7:32 am Wednesday, February 21, 2007
By By Lisa Tindell – news writer
Even Erin Brockovich is on the case.
As of Monday, more than 300 people in 40 states had fallen ill after consuming peanut butter packaged under the Peter Pan and Wal-Mart's Great Value brand names.
Law firms - including the one that employs Erin Brockovich, famously played by Julie Roberts - have already started investigating claims against Con Agra, the company that produced the peanut butter.
At least nine cases have been reported in Alabama, according to The Associated Press.
Patti West, an Alabama Cooperative Extension regional agent specializing in food safety, said the peanut butter problems are unusual.
An investigation into the outbreak of salmonella has found some inconsistencies with the packaging and the process in which the product is jarred.
According to The Associated Press, scientists suspect dirty jars or equipment may be to blame for the problem. Salmonella is usually found in animal feces.
Dr. Wayne Adkisson at D.W. McMillan Hospital said last week that an immediate reaction to salmonella poisoning is not always the case.
Adkisson said symptoms of the food-borne illness include temperatures of 101 or greater, severe abdominal pain and severe and/or bloody diarrhea.
Milder cases will carry milder symptoms causing some patients to be unaware of a problem, Adkisson said.
Last week ConAgra issued statements regarding the possible contamination two brands of peanut butter that have been linked to salmonella. The following information is available from the company's website.
The ConAgra factory is located in Sylvester, Ga., where workers have been working alongside the FDA to discover the root of this contamination.
The plant has not produced any peanut butter since last Wednesday, and they will continue to be closed until source is located and any percussions for future contamination are taken, according to the Associated Press.