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Local Stores React to Expanded Peanut Butter Recall

AMHERST, Mass (WGGB) — Last week, Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter was the only product on the list — but the peanut butter has now been linked to 30 salmonella cases in 19 states.

Now, as a cautionary measure, the manufacturer — Sunland Inc. — has expanded the recall to 101 other products made on the same equipment as that Trader Joe’s peanut butter.

“It is a safety precaution,” says Erika Hamilton, director of microbiology at UMass Amherst. “Now that it has been found in one product, it’s better to just shut everything down, recall everything and fix the problem — clean whatever needs to be cleaned, rather than just guessing, well it might be here, it might be there.”

Hamilton has made a full-time job out of studying bacteria like salmonella. She says the stuff can spread pretty easily — and when it gets into your system, it can get ugly.

“It moves into your small intestine and it actually begins to destroy the lining of your small intestine and this is what causes the symptoms,” says Hamilton. “You get a fever, abdominal cramps and diarrhea.”

Hamilton adds, “In people who have an impaired immune system, the infection really causes a lot of damage to the intestine — high fever, vomiting, lots of abdominal cramps.”

Sounds scary, but apparently a lot of people contract the bacteria without even realizing it.

“Last year, there were approximately 42,000 cases in the US,” says Hamilton. “Now, those are people who actually became ill enough to actually go to a hospital or to their doctor’s office to be checked. It is believe that there could be almost 30 times that — of people who are infected.”

Stores like Stop & Shop and Whole Foods tell us they’ve already pulled the products from their shelves.

A spokesperson for Stop & Shop says they even take the time to go through purchase logs and call customers who bought the recalled products.

For a full list of nut-based products included in this recall is available here: www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/CORENetwork/

If you have one of the recalled products in your pantry, you’re urged to throw it out immediately.