After more people have been sickened by suspected salmonella contamination in peanut butter and other nut butters made by New Mexico-based Sunland, Inc, the recall of the company's products has been expanded for the second time in as many weeks. Initially, the recall affected products sold at Trader Joe's and some smaller grocery chains. Then last week, the recall was expanded to products that are stocked at Whole Foods Markets, Target, and other retailers.
Now, news of even more expansion to the recall, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 35 people have been sickened by contaminated products, 5 in the last week alone. Affected by the recall are all products produced at the company's Portales, New Mexico plant dating back to a "best if used by" date of March 2010. CNN.com has more:
According to a FDA statement, the expanded recall "covers all previously identified Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Cashew Butter, and Tahini products as well as Roasted Blanched Peanut Products. Several varieties of flavored butters and spreads, including Thai Ginger Butter, Chocolate Butter and Banana Butter, are also being included in this expanded recall."
Health officials in Washington state have traced the same strain of salmonella that sickened 35 people nationwide to an open jar of Trader Joe's Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter collected from the home of one of the people infected. This firmly establishes a link between a specific Sunland product and this salmonella outbreak, something the company spokeswoman Katalin Coburn said hadn't been established by last week.
FDA inspectors have also found salmonella on surfaces at the Sunland processing plant, although further testing is required to confirm if it's the same strain of Salmonella, called Bredeney, that has infected nearly three dozen people in 19 states and has led to eight hospitalizations so far.
Families should discard any unused recalled products, or return them to the stores where they were purchased. For more information on whether specific products are under recall, call Sunland directly at 1-866-837-1018.
Image: Peanut butter, via Shutterstock