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Peanut butter and peanut products manufactured by Sunland, Inc. – the company responsible for at least 41 Salmonella Bredeney illnesses in 20 US states – were exported to Canada, Hong Kong and the European Union, according to reports on various government web pages.

Yesterday (November 20th), the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) carried a notification that various outbreak-related peanut and peanut-based products from the USA were distributed to France, Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom. Earlier today, the UK Food Standards Agency posted the following Food Alert for Action:

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is warning consumers not to eat certain peanut butter and peanut-based products which have been imported from the US because of possible contamination with salmonella. Salmonella is a bacterium that causes food poisoning. The Agency has issued a Food Alert for Action.

An outbreak of a strain of salmonella called Salmonella Bredeney in the US has been linked to peanut butter produced by a company called Sunland Inc. As a result, the manufacturer is recalling a wide range of peanut butter and peanut-based products. Other products containing nuts and seeds are also being recalled.

An initial recall of products in the US in September did not affect the UK as the products involved were not distributed in Europe. However, because the product recall has widened, US authorities have now alerted the European Commission to possible distribution of affected products in a number of member states, including the UK.

It is not thought that these products are on sale in the major supermarkets in the UK, but they may have been bought on the internet or from specialist shops that import American food products. The Food Standards Agency has requested distribution information from the US authorities. In the meantime, the Agency has asked local authorities to check businesses in their areas that may have imported or sold the affected products and to remove any remaining products from sale.

Liz McNulty, from the FSA’s incidents team, added: ‘Investigations are ongoing, but as we get more information from the US and local authorities in the UK we will be able to narrow down the list products to just those we know have been sold in the UK. If consumers have a product made by Sunland Inc they should check the batch code against the list on US FDA site provided at the link top right. If the product is on the list it should not be eaten and returned to where it was bought.’

The Health Protection Agency is currently not aware of any cases of illness in the UK that may be associated with the outbreak. A full list of products recalled in the USA to date can be found at the link to the FDA site.

Italy, France and Norway have yet to post any warnings.

On November 8th, Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety alerted the public that two of the recalled products – Sunland Organic Valencia Peanut Butter Creamy and Sunland Organic Valencia Peanut Butter Crunchy – had been imported into Hong Kong and were under recall. Canadians have received ten Sunland-related recall notices so far; the first one was issued on September 25, 2012 and the most recent on November 16th.

While no other countries appear to have been affected by the massive peanut-product recalls, the use of Sunland peanut products in a large number of other specialty foods combined with the ease of purchasing products across national boundaries via the Internet – especially in the EU – places consumers around the world at risk. Please consult the Sunland recall tab for a comprehensive list of recalled Sunland products and of foods that may contain a recalled Sunland peanut product.

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