– OPINION –

Friday night the FDA, along with CDC and state and local partners, reported that they are investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Senftenberg infections linked to certain Jif peanut butter products produced at the J.M. Smucker Company facility in Lexington, Kentucky.

Total Illnesses: 14, Hospitalizations: 2, Last Illness Onset: May 1, 2022. States with Cases: Arkansas (1), Georgia (2), Illinois (1), Massachusetts (1), Missouri (1), Ohio (1), North Carolina (1), New York (1), South Carolina (1), Texas (2), Virginia (1), and Washington (1).

CDC’s review of epidemiological information indicates that five out of five people reported consuming peanut butter and four of the five people specifically reported consuming different varieties of Jif brand peanut butter prior to becoming ill. FDA conducted Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis on an environmental sample collected at the Lexington, KY, J.M. Smucker Company facility in 2010.

The analysis shows that this 2010 environmental sample matches the strain causing illnesses in this current outbreak. Epidemiologic evidence indicates that Jif brand peanut butter produced in the J.M. Smucker Company facility located in Lexington, KY, is the likely cause of illnesses in this outbreak. J.M. Smucker Company has voluntarily recalled certain Jif brand peanut butter products that have the lot code numbers between 1274425 – 2140425 manufactured in Lexington, KY.

It reminded me of another Salmonella outbreak.  Beginning in November 2008, CDC PulseNet staff noted a small and highly dispersed, multistate cluster of Salmonella Typhimurium isolates. The outbreak consisted of two pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) defined clusters of illness.

The first cluster displayed a unique primary enzyme (XbaI) restriction pattern and an uncommon secondary enzyme (BlnI) pattern. The second cluster had two closely related XbaI patterns that were very similar to the first cluster and a BlnI pattern that was indistinguishable from the first cluster. Illnesses continued to be revealed through April 2009, when the last CDC report on the outbreak was published. A total of 714 were sickened, with 171 hospitalized and at least nine deaths.

Peanut butter and peanut butter containing products produced by the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Blakely, Georgia, were implicated. King Nut brand peanut butter was sold to institutional settings. Peanut paste was sold to many food companies for use as an ingredient. Implicated peanut products were sold widely throughout the USA, 23 countries and non-U.S. territories.

So, what have we learned?  Not, enough!

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