What do I need to know about salmonella and peanuts?
Mary Ann Yahl, RN, is the senior preventionist for Infection Prevention and Control at Banner Desert Medical Center.
We know families may have questions regarding the recent salmonella outbreak in peanut butters, and/or peanut products. We have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions and have included a link to the Food and Drug Administration so families can review the products in their pantry to check for safe eating.
Question: What should families do about the salmonella outbreak?
Answer: Banner Desert supports the Food and Drug Administration’s recommendations that encourage consumers to review the products they have that do contain or may contain peanut butter and to check them against the list of products being recalled that can be found on the FDA’s web site.
The current list includes cookies, crackers, cereal, candy, ice cream and even pet food and pet treats. Because the list is expanding daily, we recommend that adults and children generally steer clear of peanut-flavored products until the FDA consumer alert is cleared.
If you can’t determine if a product is on the list, do not consume the product. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Consumers who do not have access to the Internet may obtain this information by calling FDA's information line at 1-888-SAFEFOOD or CDC's consumer information hotline that is staffed 24/7 at 1-800-CDC-INFO.
Question: What are the symptoms of Salmonella and how long do the symptoms last?
Answer: With salmonella, symptoms typically include:
- diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
- abdominal cramps
Symptoms show up within 12 to 72 hours after infection and can range from mild to severe.
The illness usually lasts four to seven days, and most people recover without treatment. However, infants, the elderly, and people with impaired immune systems are more likely to become severely ill from a salmonella infection than are others.
Question: What should I do if I think I have salmonella poisoning?
Answer: If you have any or all of the symptoms above, call your physician to get tested for salmonella.
Salmonella is most dangerous to the elderly, infants and people with impaired immune systems. These populations should seek medical attention right away if they have any of these symptoms for an extended period of time.
To best protect yourself, follow the FDA guidelines and wash your hands with soap and water especially after using the bathroom or cleaning up waste.
Question: What is the treatment for salmonella?
Answer: Most people will be advised to increase fluid intake to replace losses from diarrhea. More severe cases may require antibiotics to help speed recovery.
Question: What should families do to protect themselves?
- Check your pantries for food with peanut butter and/or peanut products in the ingredients list. You can check the list at the FDA.gov web site for the list of foods that have been recalled.
- If you are unsure whether a product has been recalled avoid eating foods with peanut butter and/or peanut products, this includes snacks from vending machines and pet products as well.
- Dispose of any product on the list in a closed plastic bag and place in a sealed trash can.
- Know the symptoms and understand their severity. If you have the symptoms and have eaten anything with peanut product included, you should contact your primary care physician right away.
- Consumers with pets should know that some pet food and treats may contain peanut butter. If you have a recalled product, do not feed it to your pet or other animals.