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Salmonella scare empties shelves

By Johnny Jackson

jjackson@henryherald.com

As the federal investigation surrounding a salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds and killed six continues, local food suppliers and retailers say they are doing the best they can to stay abreast of the widening recall.

Abraham Choi, the owner of Pan Am Wholesale in Morrow, which sells health and beauty products to area convenience stores and other retailers, says his customers are unsure of what to do with their recalled food products.

"Many [retailers] are confused right now," Choi said. "They are not selling their products. But they don't want to lose money either."

The Food and Drug Administration investigation surrounds peanut butter and peanut paste products that originated at the Blakely, Ga., Peanut Corp. of America plant. The Associated Press reported Friday the plant has laid off most of his roughly 50 workers while the investigation continues.

Two years ago, a similar outbreak was linked to Peter Pan and Great Value brands of peanut butter produced at the ConAgra plant in Sylvester, Ga.

An assistant store manager at Food Depot in McDonough said customers there have asked about the outbreak and recall. Earlier in the week, the grocery store took recalled items off its shelves, said assistant store manager Connie Whitfield. The store has emptied its shelves of four different types of peanut butter products which were sent back to the manufacturer.

"We thought we'd get through the year without a recall," Whitfield said. "But we ended up starting the year with a recall."

Whitfield said if customers have questions about recalled products, store managers can help answer them.

"If they are concerned, all they have to do is ask us," she said. "We'll try to help them the best we can."

A list of recalled products is available on a searchable database at the FDA Web site.

If consumers are unsure if a product has been recalled, they can visit the Web site of the company that produced the product or call the toll-free number listed on the packaging. The FDA is continuously updating its list of recalled products and recommends consumers not consume products if they are not certain whether they have been recalled.

The recall list also includes some pet food products which contain peanut paste made by PCA.

Those who think they may have become ill from eating peanut butter should consult their health care provider.

The FDA also advises all retailers stop selling recalled products and institutions like schools stop serving the products.

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On the net:

FDA: www.fda.gov