January 28, 2009 / 2:00 AM / 9 years ago

U.S. peanut co. expanding salmonella recall: FDA

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A company at the center of a salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 500 people was broadening its recall of peanut products, U.S. health officials said on Wednesday.

<p>Salmonella bacteria is seen in a colorized scanning electron micrograph. REUTERS/CDC/Handout</p>

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Peanut Corp of America would expand its recall to all peanut products produced at its Blakely, Georgia plant since January 1, 2007, after agency inspectors found more strains of salmonella at the plant.

“These additional products are being recalled because there is concern of potential salmonella contamination, including contamination with salmonella strains not associated with the current outbreak,” Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, told reporters in a telephone briefing.

A company representative was not immediately available for comment.

Sundlof stressed that to date the only illnesses so far linked to salmonella in peanut products was to the Salmonella Typhimurium strain.

“CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and FDA will continue to monitor incidents of salmonella illness throughout the country,” he said.

Sundlof said the expanded recall now includes all peanuts -- dry and roasted -- , granulated peanuts, peanut meal, peanut butter and peanut paste made at the Blakely, Georgia facility, which has stopped production of all products.

FDA officials said it is not yet clear how many more products will be included in the expanded recall.

The FDA directed consumers to check its website at http:/www.fda.gov for updates.

The recall has already affected close to 200 products in the United States, Canada and Britain, from crackers to dog treats.

Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Tim Dobbyn

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