CDC reported yesterday evening that foods containing peanuts or peanut products supplied by Peanut Corporation of America have sickened at least 642 US residents, one Canadian, and one dog. The death toll remained unchanged at nine victims.
In its latest update, CDC warned that – although the pace of new cases has dropped from peak levels – new cases are still being reported. This outbreak will not be declared at an end until at least 2-3 weeks pass without any new cases.
With the massive recalls that have taken place over the last month, what is the source of all of these new cases? Delays in issuing recall notices? Recalled foods still in consumers' pantries? Or is there another source?
We reported on February 10th that Peanut Corporation of America had closed its Plainview, TX plant after Salmonella was found in several product samples. Even before Plainview closed, Colorado Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage that three outbreak victims had reported consuming the Company's in-store freshly ground peanut butter. Vitamin Cottage issued a precautionary recall notice, even though the link had not been confirmed.
Yesterday, according to CIDRAP, FDA reported having found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium in an opened jar of Vitamin Cottage peanut butter taken from the home of one of the Colorado outbreak victims. FDA did not find any contamination on the Company's peanut grinding machines or in fresh samples of peanut butter.
Vitamin Cottage, in a press release issued this morning, confirmed that it had been advised of FDA's findings. And, in an eerie reminder of the early reaction from Peanut Corporation of America, underlined the fact that the Salmonella was recovered from a jar of peanut butter that already had been opened by a consumer.
In addition to its earlier, precautionary recall, Vitamin Cottage has posted flier in its stores and emailed its 20,000+ subscribers to make sure that its customers are aware of the recall. The Company also has initiated new testing of all bulk products and has stepped up its routine testing.
Other companies already have begun to announce recalls of foods that contain peanuts from the Plainview facility. eFoodAlert is continuing to monitor those recall announcements and update the consolidated recall lists on this site.