WASHINGTON — The company that sells Little Debbie snacks announced a recall of peanut butter crackers Sunday because of a potential link to a deadly salmonella outbreak.
The voluntary recall came one day after the government advised consumers to avoid eating cookies, cakes, ice cream and other foods with peanut butter until health officials learn more about the contamination.
The announcement by McKee Foods Corp. of Collegedale, Tenn., about two kinds of Little Debbie products was another in a string of voluntary recalls following the most recent guidance by health officials.
The South Bend Chocolate Co. in Indiana said Sunday it also was recalling various candies containing peanut butter from Peanut Corp. of America. In suburban Chicago, Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products recalled several brands of peanut-butter cookies it sells through Wal-Mart stores.
McKee said it had not received any complaints about illnesses from people who ate peanut butter toasty sandwich crackers or peanut butter cheese sandwich crackers. The recall covers crackers produced on or after July 1.
Officials are focusing on peanut paste, as well as peanut butter, produced at a Blakely, Ga., facility owned by Peanut Corp. Its peanut butter is not sold directly to consumers but distributed to institutions and food companies. But the peanut paste, made from roasted peanuts, is an ingredient in cookies, cakes and other products that people buy in the supermarket.
So far, more than 470 people have gotten sick in 43 states, and at least 90 had to be hospitalized. At least six deaths are being blamed on the outbreak.
Salmonella is a bacteria and the most common source of food poisoning in the United States, causing diarrhea, cramping and fever.
Also Sunday, the maker of Peter Pan peanut butter said none of its products are associated with the outbreak. Peter Pan and other peanut butter produced by ConAgra Foods were linked in 2007 to a salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 625 people in 47 states.
Most peanut butter sold in jars at supermarkets appears to be safe, the Food and Drug Administration said Saturday.