Peanut Butter Recall Causes Sticky Situations Locally

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Peanut butter lovers be warned -- a salmonella outbreak has prompted a recall of some Peter Pan and Great Value jars. The Food and Drug Administration says the outbreak began last summer and was just recently traced to a Georgia plant.

Locally, the reaction has been quick.

At the Godfrey home in Bryan, there are three peanut butter jars, one empty, one partially used, and one full. All fall under the FDA recall.

We didn't get sick from there," said John Godfrey of his jars, "but I'm not going to try this one out. I'll give that one back to the grocery store."

The shelves are just a little bit more bare in the Briarcrest Appletree peanut butter aisle. Peter Pan is actually their best seller, but 300 jars of Peter Pan are now off the shelves, all of them labeled "2111." That's the less-than-magic number on the lid of now-recalled jars of Peter Pan and Great Value, both from the ConAgra company.

Now, stores are getting flooded with customer calls.

"A lot of them are asking for refunds," said Julie Wilde with Appletree, "and a lot of them want to know if it's going to be healthy for them to eat."

Many stores say they'll refund purchases of peanut butter that falls under the recall if customers bring receipts. ConAgra has also set up a system to refund purchases (see Related Links at the bottom of this story).

Since August, federal officials say 300 cases of salmonella nationwide have been traced to the tainted spread, but only a fifth of those affected had to be hospitalized. Thomas Powell works at St. Joseph's Occupational Health Clinic.

"Usually 12-72 hours after you've been contaminated with salmonella, the symptoms develop with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea," Powell said, though he added the biggest symptom may be dehydration. So in many cases, a dry palette may have followed a mouth's sticky roof.

"Over the years, you don't know what you've been eating," Godfrey said. "Before they had all these recalls, everybody ate all this stuff. Now, you have to be careful what you eat because it's always on a recall."

Godfrey adds that he won't tinker with his Peter Pan buying habit, though investigations continue as to why these jars had to get the hook.