In August of 2006, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about Peter Pan
Peanut Butter and Wal-Mart’s own Great value brand. Certain jars, jars marked with
product code located on the lid that starts with the number “2111,” were tainted with
Salmonella serotype Tennessee, a bacterium that causes food-borne illness. All Peter Pan
Peanut Butter in the United States is produced in this manufacturing plant in Georgia.
The recall covers all peanut butter produced by the plant since May 2006. While this
warning came just in time for many consumers; for at least 288 people in 39 states it
came too late.
Although the cause of the salmonella outbreak is not yet known this situation is not
entirely without precedent. In 1991 there was a similar outbreak of salmonella
originating in contaminated peanut butter in Australia where the contamination was blamed
animal feces found in the manufacturing plant.
Salmonella sickens about 38,000 people a year in the U.S. and kills about 600. It can
cause diarrhea, fever, dehydration, abdominal pain and vomiting. Elderly people,
infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness.
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