Infectious Disease in Illinois

Salmonella Multi-State Outbreak

Questions and Answers for Consumers

Can I eat peanut butter-containing products, such as cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream?

A searchable list of products and brands associated with the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) recall can be found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site at If you do not find the product on FDA’s Web site, call the toll-free number listed on the food package or visit the company’s Web site.

If you cannot determine if the peanut butter-containing products or institutionally-served peanut butter contains PCA peanut butter/peanut paste, it is recommended that the product not be consumed until more information becomes available about which brands may be affected.

What should I do with the peanut butter-containing products that have been recalled?

Do not eat these products. The product should be discarded in a manner that prevents others from eating it or returned to store where it was purchased. If you have recently experienced a diarrheal illness following consumption of these recalled products, consult your health care provider. Your health care provider can collect a stool sample and test it for the salmonella bacteria.

Will you test my peanut butter-containing products that were recalled?

The Illinois Department of Public Health will only test peanut butter-containing products if you are a confirmed case of salmonella. If your health care provider collected a stool sample from you and it was positive for this organism, the Department may test the peanut butter products. Your local health department will contact you if you are a confirmed case of salmonella.

What should I do if I ate the recalled peanut butter or peanut butter-containing product and I am not feeling well?

If you have recently experienced a fever and diarrheal illness (three or more loose stools in a 24-hour period) in the week following consumption of a peanut butter-containing product, consult your health care provider. The health care provider may request that you submit a stool culture for testing for salmonella. The Illinois Department of Public Health cannot provide medical services or payment for medical services.

What should I do if I peanut butter-containing products or I have served peanut butter-containing products to residents or students at an institution, such as a long-term care facility school or university?

Do not allow anyone to eat any of the recalled peanut butter or peanut butter-containing products until information is available on whether the brand may be affected. In an institutional setting, monitor residents for diarrheal illness and consider having them tested for salmonella if they have febrile, diarrheal illness. For schools and universities, consider providing information to parents or students on the peanut butter-containing products.

What are the symptoms of salmonellosis?

Persons with salmonellosis infection, a disease caused by the salmonella bacteria, typically develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps within 12 to 72 hours after exposure. The duration of illness is usually four days to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment. In cases of more severe illness, the bacteria can spread from the intestines to the blood stream and then to other body sites. Infants, the elderly, and persons with impaired immune systems who have salmonellosis are more likely to have a severe illness.

January 2009

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Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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