Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Recall Issued Amid Salmonella Outbreak

Federal health officials are warning people not to eat Trader Joe’s peanut butter in the wake of a salmonella food poisoning outbreak that has sickened at least 29 and hospitalized four. 

On September 22, Trader Joe’s announced a Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter recall, indicating that it may be unsafe to eat because it is likely to be contaminated with salmonella.

The recall comes after an investigation of a salmonella outbreak by federal health experts, involving at least 29 suspected infections in 18 states. At least four people have been hospitalized with food poisoning, but there have been no reported deaths to date.

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The recall affects Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter, with a Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) identification number of 97111. The peanut butter was distributed and sold nationwide to Trader Joe’s stores and online in 16 ounce plastic jars. All expiration dates stamped on the bottom of the jars are included in this recall.

Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause severe infection (Salmonellosis) and can result in death in some cases. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps that usually last 4-7 days. In some cases, the diarrhea is severe enough to require hospitalization. Consumers most affected are elderly, children, and those with weak immune systems.

Government health officials advised that Samonellosis is most common in children and is extremely dangerous because the infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream. The infection can then travel throughout other parts of the body causing death if not treated properly with antibiotics.

Both the FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that they will be keeping the public informed as they make their next decisions. However, the CDC strongly advises that consumers do not eat the recalled peanut butter and either dispose of it or return it to Trader Joe’s for a full refund.

Two of the most prominent salmonella food poisoning outbreaks in recent years were linked to contaminated peanut butter. In 2008-2009, a massive recall was issued after more than 800 cases of salmonella and at least 9 deaths were tied to the peanut butter and peanuts processed by Peanut Corporation of America, which were reportedly contaminated due to bad sanitation practices at the manufacturing plant. Another recall was issued in 2007, for millions of jars of Con Agra peanut butter, after more than 625 people developed salmonella from Great Value and Peter Pan peanut butter.

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