Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Amaran Untuk Produk Mentega Kacang (Peanut Butter)


Sumber : TheStar

Peanut butter put on health alert
By LISA GOH

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government has placed all peanut butter products from the United States on Level Five alert following several salmonella-linked deaths there, said Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai.

He said a Level Five alert meant that products would be held back and stringently tested first, and only released if they are found safe for consumption.

“The importer themselves have withdrawn the particular batches of contaminated products from the shelves.

“They have identified which batches are contaminated,” he told reporters after handing out angpows to the Valley of Hope residents here Saturday.

In a statement, the Health Ministry’s Food Safety and Quality Division said that the Ministry was informed that possibly contaminated dough, which uses peanut butter and peanut paste, had been exported to Malaysia, for The Famous Amos Chip Cookie Corp (M) Sdn Bhd.

“Investigations found that the dough had been imported from Peanut Corporation of America, and was used in three sales premises in KLCC, Sungai Wang and at the KL International Airport.

“The company has recalled the dough from all three premises,” the statement said. Liow added that the Government had “raised the alert to Level Five at all ports just to ensure that the incoming batches are free of salmonella contamination.” Asked if there were any other US products which were placed on Level Five alert, he said, “It’s a very specific product. We are focusing on one product -- peanut butter.”

US authorities on Friday said seven people had died from a nationwide outbreak of salmonella associated with tainted peanut butter and paste sourced to the PCA plant in Blakely, Georgia. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified the bacterial strain as Salmonella Typhimurium. The CDC said there had been 492 cases in 43 states and one Canadian province of people sickened with the strain as of Thursday, US media reports. Patients ranged in age from one to 98 and 22% of people afflicted with the bacteria have been hospitalised.

Another 10 US firms Friday recalled products which use PCA peanut butter or paste -- bringing to roughly 360 the number of products affected -- as it emerged that the plant at the centre of the probe laid off most of its roughly 50 workers, US papers said. The recalled products range from snack bars to crackers and pre-packaged meals and even pet food. But products containing peanuts not sourced from the PCA plant are deemed safe.

The Food and Drug Administration, which is investigating, has said it has no evidence to suggest the contamination originated with any other major manufacturing facility other than the PCA plant.

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