Marler Blog and some of the press have been sounding the alarm on all peanut butter products.  True the FDA and CDC have been investigating a multi-state Salmonella outbreak and that there may be a connection with certain peanut butter products. But does this mean that consumers, restaurants and food sellers should avoid all peanut butter products? The answer is NO.

For example. the CDC has stated that:

Preliminary analysis of an epidemiologic study conducted by CDC and public health officials in multiple states comparing foods eaten by ill and well persons has suggested peanut butter as a likely source of the bacteria causing the infections. To date, no association has been found with major national brand name jars of peanut butter sold in grocery stores.

One thing that any restaurant or food seller can do is to educate their customers about the safety of their products. CNN has a great article up today in their Consumer Tips section.  Based on information available to date, the article provides the following guidance for the consumer:

1. Is it safe to make my child a peanut butter sandwich? The FDA says as of Sunday there is no indication that brand name peanut butter sold in grocery stores is linked to the outbreak.

2. What about the peanut butter served at schools? The peanut butter found to contain salmonella bacteria was made by the Peanut Corporation of America. They make peanut butter for institutional use in places like prisons, schools and nursing homes. As a precaution, the Peanut Corporation of America has recalled all peanut butter and peanut paste made in its Blakely, Georgia, plant. That means institutions should no longer be serving it.

3. What about other food made with peanut butter? Officials say for right now, hold off on eating foods that contain peanut butter or peanut paste. Peanut paste is found in commercially made cakes, candies, crackers, cookies and ice cream. The Kellog Co. announced a voluntary recall of 16 products, including Keebler and Famous Amos peanut butter cookies, because they contain peanut butter that could be connected to the Peanut Corporation of America.

 4. How do I know if I have been infected by salmonella? According to the Centers for Disease Control, most people infected by salmonella bacteria develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after the infection. Most people recover without treatment. However, in some cases salmonellosis, as the infection is called, can be deadly. The infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream and on to other body parts. Antibiotics need to be administered immediately. The elderly, infants and people with impaired immune systems are more likely to get seriously sick. If you think you may have infected with salmonella, go to the doctor immediately. The doctor can perform lab tests to determine if you have it.

To keep current on the list of products recalled as a result of the recall, sign-up for FDA email alerts and keep in close communication with suppliers.