Press Release

January 20, 2009


State health director’s guidance for peanut butter consumption

FDA confirms nationwide outbreak of salmonella is peanut butter  

Illinois Summary of Salmonella and Peanut Butter

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director, is urging consumers to log onto the Illinois Department of Public Health Web site to find the most recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) list of products being recalled in relation to the nationwide Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak. Information from both the Minnesota and Connecticut state health departments, along with the results available from laboratory testing and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) epidemiological analysis, have now led FDA to confirm that the source of this outbreak is peanut butter and peanut paste produced by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) at its Blakely, Ga. processing plant.

According to the FDA, major national brands of peanut butter in jars that consumers find on store shelves are not affected by the PCA recall. However, there are other products, such as crackers, cookies and ice cream that may contain the recalled peanut butter or peanut paste. The identification of those products is ongoing therefore the FDA is urging people to visit its Web site to see the most up-to-date recall list. The link to the FDA Web site is

In Illinois, there have been five cases of Salmonella Typhimurium matching the national outbreak. Those cases were identified in Fayette, Franklin, Lake, St. Clair and Will counties. The date of onset for illnesses in Illinois range from October 4 – December 17, and ages of patients range from 2-years to 73-years. One person was hospitalized due to illness.

Even though the cases of salmonella in Illinois do match the genetic fingerprint of the national outbreak, at this time, the food histories of patients are not clear enough to definitively say the source of illness in Illinois is peanut butter. The Illinois Department of Public Health continues to work with local health departments, the FDA and CDC on this outbreak investigation.

Symptoms of salmonellosis, which last from 24 hours to 12 days, include headache, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting, chills, fever, nausea and dehydration. They usually appear six to 72 hours after ingestion. People who think they may have become ill from eating peanut butter should consult their health care providers.

idph online home
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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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