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Food Safety Feature Articles


How to handle the salmonella peanut outbreak

Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, Nutritional Sciences, University of Missouri Extension

As the salmonella peanut outbreak continues to unfold, here are some key things to do and places to visit on the Web for the most current information.

Don’t eat foods with peanuts if you don’t know where the peanuts are from. If you are in a restaurant or other food establishment, ask about the source of the peanuts. Most people think of cookies and crackers as a source of peanuts, but they may also be in processed foods you wouldn’t think of - like sauces, ice cream or egg rolls.

Are you unsure if your food has been recalled? Go to the Food and Drug Administration’s Web site,, to find recalled products.

If you have a food on the recall list, throw it out. If you have food that’s not on the list, but want to be sure it is safe, call the manufacturer - the food package might have a toll-free number. You can also search the Web for contact information. There is a Web site,
, to search for foods that are not currently on the recall list and are safe to eat.

Do you have peanut butter in a jar at home? National brands are not part of the recall at this time and they are considered safe.

Pet foods and treats are also part of the recall. Check to see if any products you use have been recalled. The risk to pets is low, but there is a concern that touching pet food can transfer the salmonella bacteria.

For more information go to these Web sites, in addition to the ones mentioned above:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Peanut butter and peanut-containing product recalls related to salmonella infections:


Consumers without Internet access can phone 1-888-SAFEFOOD (1-888-723-3366) or 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636). The CDC INFO line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Contact your local Extension office for more information on this topic or any nutrition, fitness or health question, or contact MU Extension’s Show-Me Nutrition line at 1-888-515-0016.



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Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009