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FDA Widens Peanut Butter-Salmonella Probe
Date:1/16/2009

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, cereal giant Kellogg asked stores to stop selling its popular Keebler and Austin brand peanut butter crackers.

Kellogg, of Battle Creek, Mich., said it hadn't received any complaints or discovered any problems with the crackers, but took the action as a "precautionary measure" after Peanut Corp., one of its suppliers, announced a nationwide recall of peanut butter made at the Georgia plant.

The crackers are Toasted Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Crackers, Cheese and Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, and Peanut Butter-Chocolate Sandwich Crackers.

The strain of salmonella involved with the outbreak has been identified as Salmonella Typhimurium, the most common of the more than 2,500 types of salmonella bacteria in the United States. It's often found in uncooked eggs and meats, officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The most recent death linked to the outbreak was an elderly man in North Carolina, according to state health officials.

On Wednesday, health officials in Minnesota and Idaho said that one death in each state had been linked to the outbreak. Another death in Minnesota and two in Virginia were confirmed Tuesday, the AP reported.

Although the causes of death haven't been determined,
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