Federal health authorities today urged consumers to avoid eating cookies, cakes, ice cream, and other foods that contain peanut butter until authorities can learn more about a deadly outbreak of salmonella contamination. Most peanut butter sold in jars at supermarkets appears to be safe. More than 470 people have gotten sick in 43 states, and at least 90 had to be hospitalized. At least six deaths are blamed on the outbreak.
Officials are focusing on peanut paste, as well as peanut butter, produced at a Blakely, Ga., facility owned by Peanut Corp. of America. Its peanut butter is not sold directly to consumers but distributed to institutions and food companies. But the peanut paste, made from roasted peanuts, is an ingredient in cookies, cakes, and other products that people buy in the supermarket.