Health officials are saying this is the first time peanut butter’s ever been the source of a salmonella outbreak. Kevin Teale at the Iowa Department of Public Health says they know of six cases in Iowa, scattered across the entire state.
"These cases range in age, they are statewide and they stretch in a period from September through the turn of the new year in January," Teale says. In all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Thursday afternoon reported 288 people sickened in 39 states, though no one has died. The company issued a statement saying none of its product tests have indicated the presence of the bacteria, but the recall was taken as a precautionary measure.
Teale says this recall has been slow to go into effect. "In a normal food-borne outbreak, you’ll see a number of cases in a short period of time," he says. "This one’s been more chronic, a small number of cases but dating all the way back to last August." Omaha-based ConAgra Foods voluntarily recalled "Peter Pan" and "Great Value" brand peanut butter, saying the suspect jars all have product code 2-1-1-1 printed on the lids. Hy-Vee Foods Stores and WalMart are removing the affected brands from their shelves.