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Details about the salmonella outbreak

February 26, 2007|by JULIE E. GREENE

To pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or to give the kids lunch money?

The general consensus is that it's safe to eat peanut butter as long as it's not the brands and lot numbers associated with the recent salmonella infection outbreak in the U.S., said John Hammond, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is advising people not to eat any Peter Pan peanut butter bought since May 2006 and not to eat Great Value peanut butter bought since May 2006 with a product code that starts with 2111, according to the agency's Web site. Great Value is a Wal-Mart brand.

Those peanut butter jars are at risk of having been contaminated with a type of salmonella called Salmonella Tennessee.

As of Wednesday, Feb. 21, at least 329 people were infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Tennessee, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site.

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Cases had been reported in 41 states.

Also, there were two cases each in Maryland and West Virginia and 25 cases in Pennsylvania.

For information about the salmonellosis outbreak and advice for consumers regarding the infection, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site at www.cdc.gov/salmonella.

Local health departments monitor outbreaks as well.

In Maryland, labs and physicians must report cases of salmonellosis to their local health department, said Elizabeth Nuckles, communicable disease program manager for the Washington County Health Department.

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