Kellogg Co. confirmed Monday that the FDA has found salmonella bacteria in recalled Austin Peanut Butter Crackers. The crackers contain peanut paste manufactured at the same processing plant which made large tubs of peanut butter previously found to be contaminated with the same strain of bacteria that has caused nearly 500 confirmed cases of Salmonella food poisoning.
Federal and state health officials have linked the food poisoning outbreak to the Salmonella typhimurium strain of bacteria, which was found earlier this month in an open five pound container of King Nut peanut butter being served at a nursing home in Minnesota.
Subsequent investigations traced the source of the contamination to a peanut processing plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America in Blakely, Georgia, which manufactured 5 to 50 pound containers of peanut butter distributed to nursing homes, hospitals, schools and other food service institutions.
As a result of concerns about the peanut paste received from Peanut Corporation of America, Kellogg put a hold on peanut butter sandwich crackers on January 14, while the FDA and other authorities investigated the extent of the contamination.
After Peanut Corporation of America expanded their recall on January 16, 2009 to include peanut paste produced at the facility, Kellogg issued a peanut butter cracker recall for 16 different varieties of crackers and cookies sold under the Austin, Keebler and Famous Amos brand names.
At least 9 other peanut butter recalls have been issued by companies that received ingredients used in their products from Peanut Corporation of America, including Little Debbie peanut butter crackers, Meijer peanut butter crackers, Walmart peanut butter cookies, Food Lion peanut butter cookies, Kroger peanut butter ice cream and nutrition bars marketed under ZonePerfect, NutriPals and Clif brand names.
As a result of pending investigations into which consumer products may contain peanut paste manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America, the FDA has urged consumers to avoid products containing peanut butter.