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FDA: 125-plus products recalled in salmonella and peanut inquiry

WASHINGTON — More than 125 products have been recalled in a salmonella-and-peanuts investigation that keeps getting bigger, federal health officials said Wednesday.

The list ranges from goodies like cookies and ice cream to energy bars. Even food for pooches may not be entirely safe, with a national company recalling some of its dog treats.

On Tuesday, PetSmart recalled seven kinds of its Grreat Choice dog biscuits. On Wednesday, the weight loss company NutriSystem issued a recall for peanut butter granola bars. And some Asian foods made with peanut sauces are starting to turn up on the recalls list.

To help consumers, the Food and Drug Administration has set up on its Web site a searchable database of recalled peanut products. "We expect (the) number to continue to increase," said Stephen Sundlof, head of the FDA's food safety program. No major brands of peanut butter sold in jars are implicated.

Peanut butter is not normally thought of as a high-risk product for salmonella. The bacteria, a frequent source of food poisoning, is supposed to be killed off in the roasting process.

In this investigation, the common denominator is that all the products contain peanut paste or peanut butter made at a Peanut Corp. of America plant in Blakely, Ga.

Originally the problem appeared limited to peanut butter shipped in big tubs to institutional customers like nursing homes. But then peanut paste was implicated. Made from ground roasted peanuts, it is used as an ingredient in dozens of other products sold directly to consumers.

Last week, Kellogg recalled some of its Austin and Keebler brand peanut butter crackers. Salmonella was later confirmed in a package of Austin crackers.

At least 486 people in more than 40 states have gotten sick since the outbreak began in the fall. Six have died.

FDA: 125-plus products recalled in salmonella and peanut inquiry 01/21/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 10:38pm]

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