DCP: Peanut Butter Crackers Sold in Vending Machines May be Linked to Salmonella Outbreak

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 January 16, 2009

Peanut Butter Crackers Sold in Vending Machines May be Linked to Salmonella Outbreak


HARTFORD, January 16 – Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell, Jr. is warning consumers today to be wary when buying peanut butter products from vending machines in the next few days. This warning is in response to consumer inquiries and the Kellogg Company’s recent announcement that it is placing a hold on Austin® and Keebler® brand Toasted Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Crackers, Cheese and Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, and Peanut Butter-Chocolate Sandwich Crackers.


Kellogg’s action is in direct response to a recent salmonella outbreak thought to be caused by tainted peanut butter manufactured by the Peanut Corporation of America. The Peanut Corporation of America is one of several suppliers that Kellogg’s uses in its Austin® and Keebler® peanut butter sandwich crackers.


The Kellogg Company is exercising this hold as a precaution; thus far its investigation has not indicated any concerns, nor has the company received any complaints of consumer illness from these products.


“To be safe, I ask consumers to use caution when purchasing peanut butter products from vending machines for the time being, until this issue is resolved,” Farrell said. “Unlike products on store shelves which can be quickly taken off sale, when items sold by vending machine are recalled, each machine must be individually serviced in order to remove the recalled items, and that can take a number of days.” 


The Department of Consumer Protection is working with the Connecticut Vending Association, which offered assurance that the majority of machines will be cleared of the suspect Keebler and Austin products by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.  Office closings related to the long Martin Luther King Day holiday weekend are partly responsible for the length of time needed to remove all the items.


Earlier this week, the Department announced the recall of King Nut peanut butter, a brand manufactured for the food service industry by the Peanut Corporation of America.  King Nut Companies recalled the product when salmonella was found in an open five-pound tub of the peanut butter.


Salmonella bacteria can cause Salmonellosis, which often produces diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some persons, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics. Older adults, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to experience severe illness, and should be seen by a physician if they experience these symptoms.


For more information, please call the Kellogg Consumer Response Center at 888-314-2060.