U.S. health officials late Friday said at least 85 companies had purchased peanut products from the Georgia plant and 30 had been "urged" to run their own tests for the bacteria, the AP reported.
Sundlof told a late Friday teleconference: "We have traced one likely source of salmonella contamination to a plant owned by the Peanut Corp. of America in Georgia, which makes both a brand of peanut butter distributed in bulk to large institutions like nursing homes, and also produces a peanut paste that is distributed to food manufacturers to be used as an ingredient in many products, including cookies, crackers, cereal and ice cream."
Although salmonella was found at the plant, it's not yet known whether it's the same strain behind the outbreak, Sundlof said, adding that testing continues.
Sundlof said the FDA doesn't know all the peanut butter brands or foods containing peanut butter that might be affected. "We don't have specific information about what brands or products consumers should avoid," he said.
He added, however, that popular brands of peanut butter found on store shelves don't seem to be affected.
But AP, quoting consumer representatives who took part in an earlier-Friday conference call with federal officials, said companies producing products with peanut butter were being asked to consider halting sales.
The concern is that peanut paste is used in dozens of products, from baked goods to cooking sauces. Initially, federal and state investigators had focused on bulk containers of peanut butter sold to institutions such as nursing homes, but not to supermarkets, the AP said.
"Now it turns out, it's not just institutions," said Michael Hansen, a senior scientist with Consumers Union.
On Wednesday, Kellogg, of Battle Creek, Mich
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