(In Jan. 19 story, company clarifies that Canadian Food
Inspection Agency found the salmonella, not U.S. FDA)
By Ilaina Jonas
NEW YORK Jan 19 Salmonella was found in a
package of peanut butter sandwich crackers made by Kellogg Co
(K.N), the food manufacturer said on Monday, as a precautionary
recall expanded across the food industry.
The Kellogg product -- Austin Quality Foods Toasty Crackers
with Peanut Butter -- was one of several snacks the Battle
Creek, Michigan company voluntarily recalled as a precaution.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers
to avoid eating products that contained peanut butter until it
could determine the scope of an outbreak of salmonella food
poisoning that may have contributed to six deaths.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the presence
of salmonella in a package of the crackers bought in Maine by a
consumer who lives in Canada. CFIA reported its findings to the
FDA, which notified Kellogg.
Kellogg said it does not distribute the recalled products in
Since September the salmonella food poisoning outbreak has
sickened at least 474 people in 43 states, health officials at
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
The FDA has traced a source of the contamination to Peanut
Corporation of America (PCA), which supplies peanut butter
products to manufacturers and institutions, such as nursing
The FDA said some samples of its products had tested
positive for a salmonella strain that may have originated in a
Blakely, Georgia, peanut processing plant.
After initiating several precautionary steps on Jan. 14,
which included putting a hold on any inventory in its control
and removing products from retail store shelves, Kellogg
recalled several suspected peanut butter snacks and cookies two
days later. The products include peanut butter and jelly
sandwich crackers, cheese and peanut butter sandwich crackers,
and peanut butter-chocolate sandwich crackers sold under the
brand Austin or Keebler.
"Events of the last week suggest there was a breach in this
supplier's process that is unacceptable to Kellogg, our
customers and our consumers," David Mackay, Kellogg president
and chief executive, said in a statement. "Kellogg will evaluate
its processes to ensure we take necessary actions to reassure
consumers and rebuild confidence in these products."
Kellogg said it does not use PCA ingredients in any Kellogg
products outside of those already recalled.
Kris Charles, Kellogg's spokeswoman, said the company is
focused on the recall and did not know how much the recall and
subsequent confirmation could cost.
"At this time we don't have an estimate for the total cost
of the recall," she said.
Over the holiday weekend, the peanut butter-product recall
expanded as grocery store owner Meijer on Monday initiated a
voluntary recall of two types of its Meijer Brand crackers and
two types of Meijer Brand ice cream. None of the Meijer brand
products have been identified as contaminated or linked to any
illness, the company said.
General Mills Inc (GIS.N) also voluntarily recalled two
varieties of peanut butter-flavored snack bars, saying peanut
butter in the products was sourced from Peanut Corp of America.
The two products involved Larabar Peanut Butter Cookie flavor
snack bars and JamFrakas Peanut Butter Blisscrisp flavor snack
bars were introduced in June. The company produces thousands of
Illinois-based Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products recalled all
Wal-Mart Bakery brands of peanut butter cookies sold in the
in-store bakery sections of Wal-Mart Stores, as well as its
Lofthouse brand and Food Lion brand peanut butter cookies.
Tennessee-based McKee Foods Corp said it was recalling two
varieties of "Little Debbie" peanut butter sandwich crackers
that could potentially be contaminated.
On Sunday PCA expanded its recall to include peanut butter
and peanut paste distributed to institutions, food service
industries, and private label food companies.
David Beal, of North Carolina-based TBM Consulting, likened
the recalls to 2006 incidents involving e.Coli-tainted spinach
and China's tainted milk scandal in 2008, and said they could
potentially cost the companies involved millions of dollars.
Most food companies followed FDA guidelines, but had not
implemented quality controls across their companies, he said.
"They're doing what needs to be done, as opposed to what
could be done," Beal said, noting that implementing tougher
controls for ingredients and processes would ultimately cost
less than the damages linked to the recalls.
(Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa in Washington;
Editing by Diane Craft)
(Reporting by Ilaina Jonas, editing by Martin Golan)