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Warning on American peanut and almond butters with possible Salmonella contamination

     The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department today (August 20) advised members of the public not to consume six brands of peanut and almond butters manufactured by nSPIRED Natural Foods, Inc in the United States (US) which are suspected to contain Salmonella.

     A CFS spokesman said, "The CFS, through its routine Food Incident Surveillance System, learned about a voluntary recall initiated by the manufacturer concerned in response to the test results of the US Food and Drug Administration. The six brands being recalled were Arrowhead Mills, MaraNatha, Kroger, Safeway, Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, involving 43 types of different peanut and almond butters packaged in glass and plastic jars. The best before dates of the affected batches of the products ranged between December 4, 2014, and July 21, 2015. Some of the affected products may have been imported to Hong Kong."

     After investigation, the CFS preliminarily confirmed that the incriminated products had been made available for sale in Hong Kong. The retailers concerned had stopped sale of the products concerned upon CFS' request.  Checks on other major retail outlets have been conducted and, so far, no affected products have been found. The CFS will alert the trade to stop selling the products concerned and has been liaising with the US authorities for more information.

     Salmonella infection may cause fever and gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. The effects on people with lowered immunity such as infants and young children could be more severe and sometimes may even lead to death.

     "More information about the affected products can be found at the following website: . Consumers who have bought the affected batches of the products should stop consuming them. People should seek medical treatment if they feel unwell after consuming the particular products. So far, no complaints about people feeling unwell after consumption of the affected products have been received," the spokesman said.

     On the other hand, regarding a recall in Denmark of a certain kind of sausage product manufactured by a Danish establishment due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, the CFS has contacted relevant authorities and has been informed that there has no indication of any affected product being imported to Hong Kong. Furthermore, major local retailers have been contacted to confirm whether the affected product was available in their outlets. The CFS has also alerted the trade and the public of the incident through the Rapid Alert System and on its website respectively.

     "So far, the CFS has not received any reports that the particular product has been available for sale in Hong Kong or any complaints about people feeling unwell after consumption of the affected product. Nonetheless, for the sake of prudence, the CFS urged consumers who have recently bought any of the pork sausage product concerned abroad or online, or if they are unsure of the details of relevant product to stop eating it. People should also seek medical treatment if they feel unwell after consuming the particular products," the spokesman said.

     Most healthy individuals do not develop symptoms after eating food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes or only have mild symptoms like fever, muscle pain, headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea when infected.  However, severe complications such as septicemia, meningitis or even death may occur in newborns, elderly and those with a weaker immune system.  Although infected pregnant women may just experience mild symptoms generally, the infection of Listeria monocytogenes may cause miscarriage, infant death, preterm birth, or severe infection in the newborns

     The CFS will continue to closely monitor the situation and liaise with relevant authorities to follow up on the incidents in order to ensure food safety and safeguard public health.

Ends/Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Issued at HKT 21:04


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