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Check pantries for possibly tainted products

Published: Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 9:14 a.m. CST

SPRINGFIELD (MCT) — State health officials are working to help residents become aware of a multistate salmonella outbreak involving peanut butter and other products.

The outbreak of the bacterial illness, which has sickened 30 people in 19 states, including a Central Illinois case, involves Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter and other products containing seeds and nuts from Sunland Inc.

The companies issued voluntary recalls after a preliminary investigation into the outbreak found the products to be the possible sources of the outbreak, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported. The department is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate the cases.

People initially became ill from June 11 to Sept. 11, and patients have ranged in age from 1 to 77. Four people have been hospitalized, the department reported. More than half of the people who became ill were children younger than 10.

“It is important to check your shelves at home and make sure to get rid of any of the recalled peanut butter or other products,” said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “If you have eaten one of these products and are feeling ill, contact your doctor or local health care provider.”

The majority of those infected with salmonella bacteria develop symptoms — which can include diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps — between 12 and 72 hours after becoming infected. According to the IDPH, illness usually lasts between four and seven days, and most people do not require medical treatment.

In some cases, a person might require hospitalization because the symptoms are so severe. Infants, seniors and people with impaired immune systems face a greater risk of severe illness or serious complications from salmonella.

Included in the Trader Joe’s recall are the 16-ounce Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter jars sold at Trader Joe’s stores across the United States. All expiration dates up to and including July 26, 2013 are involved in the recall. For more information, call the company’s customer relations at (626) 599-3817 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. or visit www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm320579.htm.

For more information on the Sunland nut and peanut butter products involved in the recall, visit http://www.sunlandinc.com/788/html/pdfs/SunlandRecall.pdf or call the company’s 24-hour line at (866) 837-1018.

The IDPH recommended that anyone with any recalled products in their pantries throw the items away or return them to the store where they were purchased.

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