Peanut butter recall needs to be taken seriously, says expert

Some products sold in Colorado

DENVER - Peanut and almond butters sold at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and other grocers are being recalled because of possible salmonella contamination.

A unit of Hain Celestial Group Inc. says there have been reports of four illnesses that may be related to the nut butters. They were sold under the brand names Arrowhead Mills Peanut Butters, MaraNatha Almond Butters and Peanut Butters, and private label brands for Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Kroger and Safeway.  

They were sold in the United States -- including Colorado, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates.

Experts tell 7NEWS this recall must be taken seriously since it's impossible to detect contamination through a visual inspection.

"Can you open and look it or smell it to see if it has salmonella?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marc Stewart.

"No, you won't be able to tell it that way," said Sarah Bruhn, a registered nurse with the Rocky Mountain Poison Center.

In fact, the symptoms are similar to a stomach bug -- most doctors don't even test for it.

"It's a bacterial infection, it's going to cause you to potentially have a fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain," said Bruhn.

Among the outbreaks over the years include one in 2009 that left 714 people sick, including 18 cases in Colorado, according to data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The onset of symptoms for salmonella can be up to one to two days," said Bruhn.

"It can be difficult to trace it back to what the specific culprit is," she said.

For a complete list of the recalled products, visit the FDA website.

The use-by date can be found on the top of the jar lid. The company is currently working with customers and retailers to remove and destroy products with the above use-by dates from store shelves and warehouses.

The company says it learned of the contamination risk after routine FDA testing.

The Food and Drug Administration says it does not know how many jars of nut butters were recalled. The company would not comment.

Consumers do not need to return the product to the store where it was purchased. Instead, consumers are urged to dispose of the recalled product and its container. Please contact the Company at 800-937-7008 between the hours of 8:00 AM and 8:00 PM CST for a replacement or refund, and with general inquiries.

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