For Immediate Release: Jan. 22, 2009
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7280 (after-hours answering service)
BURLINGTON - The Vermont Department of Health is urging Vermonters to be aware that the nationwide investigation of Salmonella contamination that is likely linked to peanut butter products has now expanded to include some pet foods. Major national brands of jarred peanut butter do not appear to be affected by the recall.
To date, there are 488 cases associated with the outbreak strain of Salmonella serotype Typhimurium in 43 states, including four cases in Vermont. Two of the Vermont cases were hospitalized and are recovering.
The Vermont Department of Health is collaborating with public health officials in other states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as part of an ongoing investigation into a multistate outbreak of illness due to Salmonella serotype Typhimurium.
“The recall has expanded to include a few pet food products,” said Acting State Epidemiologist Patsy Kelso. “We wanted to inform the public and health care providers as quickly as possible as new information becomes available.”
PetSmart, including the one Vermont store location in Williston, has voluntarily recalled "Grreat Choice" brand dog biscuits that contain pet food peanut paste produced by the Peanut Corporation of America.
Although Salmonella illness is not common in pets like cats and dogs, the bacteria can cause infection and put other animals or humans at risk. People who may have handled contaminated dog biscuits should wash their hands often and well.
For a list of peanut butter-containing products that may be affected visit the FDA website at http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/salmonellatyph.html#update.
Vermonters are urged to follow national recommendations by the CDC and FDA including:
- Do not eat products that have been recalled, and throw them away in a manner that prevents others from eating them.
- Postpone eating other peanut butter-containing products (such as cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream) until more information becomes available.
The Vermont Department of Health will collect and test unopened peanut butter-containing products from people with confirmed cases of Salmonella.
Symptoms of illness caused by eating food contaminated with Salmonella include headache, fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. Salmonella can invade the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections for people with weakened immune systems or other underlying health conditions. Symptoms for those individuals can be more severe.
Vermonters who think they may be ill from eating the suspected peanut butter products should contact their doctor. If you are not ill but purchased recalled peanut butter products, dispose of them to avoid possible exposure.
Illness should be reported to the Health Department at 802-863-7240 or 1-800-640-4374 (Vermont only). For more information about Salmonella illness go to healthvermont.gov.