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FSA warns Sunland US salmonella outbreak could reach UK

By Joe Whitworth , 22-Nov-2012

One example of the products recalled due to possible contamination
One example of the products recalled due to possible contamination

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has warned consumers not to eat certain peanut butter-based products imported from the US due to the ongoing salmonella outbreak traced to manufacturer Sunland.

An outbreak of the salmonella bredeney strain in the US has been linked to peanut butter produced by peanut-butter producer, Sunland Inc.

An initial recall of products in the US in September did not affect the UK as the products involved were not distributed in Europe.

Widened product recall

However, because the product recall has widened, US authorities have now alerted the European Commission to possible distribution of affected products in member states, including the UK.

The Health Protection Agency was not aware of any cases of illness in the UK that may be associated with the outbreak as of yesterday.

It is not thought that these products are on sale in the major supermarkets in the UK, but they may have been bought on the internet or from specialist shops that import American food products, said the FSA.

The agency has requested distribution information from the US authorities and has asked local authorities to check businesses in their areas that may have imported or sold the affected products and to remove any remaining products from sale.

The manufacturer, which is awaiting US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permission to reopen, has recalled a wide range of peanut-based products and other items containing nuts and seeds.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 41 people had been infected with the outbreak strain from 20 states with 63% percent of ill people being children under the age of 10 years, in its latest update.

Ongoing investigation

Liz McNulty, from the FSA’s incidents team, said: “Investigations are ongoing, but as we get more information from the US and local authorities in the UK we will be able to narrow down the list products to just those we know have been sold in the UK.

“If consumers have a product made by Sunland Inc they should check the batch code against the list on US FDA site provided at the link top right. If the product is on the list it should not be eaten and returned to where it was bought.”

Sunland recently denied distributing contaminated peanut butter after the FDA published an inspection document stating that the firm saying products that it knew to be contaminated due to the firms internal testing were still released into the market.

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