So far, the outbreak has been linked to six deaths, with nearly 500 people sickened and 107 hospitalized, according to US health officials.
American Peanut Council’s (APC) European Marketing Director Louise McKercher told FoodNavigator-USA.com: “At this moment we are 100 percent focused on the health of consumers…Any outbreak that occurs is disappointing to the industry, but right now our focus has to be on consumer health.”
She said: “The vast majority [of American peanut processors] are not affected by this recall…It is one plant representing a tiny fraction of US production, but even one incident is one too many.”
In an interview in November, in the midst of the Chinese melamine scandal, APC health education consultant Dr Andrew Craig said: “The American logo works well as a mark of quality.”
McKercher would not comment on whether this could change as a result of the recalls.
She said: “When the issue has been resolved we will review everything that has happened and do everything possible to stop it happening again.”
However, hopes that such a resolution could be close were dashed again today as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dr Tauxe told reporters in a teleconference: “More cases are being reported every day. The outbreak appears to be ongoing.”
Health officials have now confirmed the link between the salmonella outbreak and a processing plant operated by the Peanut Corporation of America in Georgia.
The roll call of recalled products has now surpassed 125 in the US, plus nine varieties of snack bar in Canada. And today it has emerged that potentially contaminated products may have crossed the Atlantic, as US energy bar maker Lärabar has recalled a number of snack bars from shelves in the UK.
Representatives of the APC have been involved in discussions with the FDA today, FoodNavigator-USA has learned.