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School district safe from tainted peanut-based products

Officials in South Whidbey schools said this week that students were never in danger of eating tainted peanut-based products.

A nationwide peanut butter recall continues. In Washington, 15 people have been diagnosed with illness caused by Salmonella Typhimurium.

Whidbey students were never in danger, officials said.

“Our supplier, Food Services of America, contacted me right away and said that we didn’t have any items on the recall list,” said Veronica Schmidt, food service supervisor for the school district.

Schmidt said that suppliers typically notify the district about any impending concerns. Schmidt also double-checked with Smuckers, makers of a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich product called Uncrustables.

“They were clear as well,” she said. “We take all recalls very seriously here.”

State health officials said consumers should postpone eating peanut products until they’re sure those products aren’t part of a major recall due to the national salmonellosis outbreak. This advice does not include national brands of jarred peanut butter sold in grocery stores.

A list of affected products sold in Washington can be found on the Web at www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/food/salmonellaoutbreak.html.

More than 600 cases of salmonella due to tainted peanut-based products has been reported nationwide.

Symptoms of salmonella include severe diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, fever, chills, abdominal discomfort and occasionally vomiting. The symptoms generally appear one to three days after exposure. Serious infections can occur, particularly in the very young or elderly.

The far-reaching recall has expanded daily and now covers hundreds of products. The state health department is working with local health partners and the Food and Drug Administration to make sure recalled products are removed from sale.

Anyone who is unsure if a specific peanut product has been recalled should not eat it or feed it to family or pets until they get more information about the product.

The FDA has an online list of all products affected by the recall at www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutter

recall/index.cfm.

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