By Kie Relyea
A New Mexico maker of Trader Joe’s peanut butter that was originally linked to a salmonella outbreak in 18 states — including two illnesses in Washington state — has recalled 76 almond butter and peanut butter products distributed under its name and other brands.
Sunland Inc. announced Monday, Sept. 24, that it was issuing the recall in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state health departments, are investigating the 29 illnesses that have so far been linked to the salmonella bredeney strain.
“There is nothing more important to us than the health and safety of our customers, particularly the many families who enjoy our peanut butter every day. While FDA, CDC and state health agencies investigate to confirm the cause of illnesses reported, as a precautionary step, we have decided to voluntarily recall our almond butter and peanut butter products manufactured between May 1, 2012, and September 24, 2012,” Jimmie Shearer, president and CEO of Sunland, said in a news release.
Four people have been hospitalized, according to the CDC, but no deaths have been reported.
In Washington state, two illnesses have been reported — one was a teen boy in Spokane County and the other was a boy 12 years or younger in Thurston County.
Both were sick about six weeks ago and one was briefly hospitalized, said Donn Moyer, spokesman for the Washington state Department of Health.
On Monday, Sunland said the peanut and almond butters being recalled were sold under the Sunland brand as well as Archer Farms, Earth Balance, fresh & easy, heinen’s, Joseph’s, Natural Value, Naturally More, Open Nature, Peanut Power, Serious Food Silly Prices, Snaclite, Sprouts Farmers Market, Sprout’s, and Trader Joe’s.
The products have “best-if-used-by” dates of between May 1, 2013, and Sept. 24, 2013. (They are stamped on the side of the jar’s label below the lid of the jar.)
The initial recall notice issued on Saturday, Sept. 22, focused solely on Trader Joe’s creamy salted Valencia peanut butter made with sea salt as the likely source of the outbreak.
Salmonella can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection.
The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment, although serious bloodstream infections can occur, particularly in the very young or elderly.
Consumers who bought the recalled products should throw them away, or return them to the supermarket where they bought them for a full refund.