Peanut butter imports banned
BAHRAIN has suspended with immediate effect all imports of peanut butter and its products, following six deaths in the US from suspected salmonella poisoning.
Another 474 people in 43 states had fallen ill by yesterday, sparking an alert from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
All consignments of peanut butter or products containing it are being stopped and held at Bahrain's ports, until tests determine whether they are safe for human consumption, Public Health Directorate acting head of food control Ebrahim Hamad said yesterday.
"This is because of an alert issued by the FDA last Saturday, which advised consumers to avoid eating any products containing peanut butter or peanut paste, until it can be determined which ones may be contaminated by salmonella," he said.
"All our food inspectors have been instructed to detain any imported consignment of peanut butter and all products which contain peanut butter.
"Five different samples from each detained consignment will be subjected to rigorous testing, after which it would be allowed into the country if all tests prove to be negative."
Mr Hamad said one particular brand named in the alert, produced at King Nut Company, is not imported into Bahrain.
"What we have done is purely as a precaution and our steps will continue until the FDA gives the all-clear," he said.
The FDA had said earlier its warning did not include peanut butter sold in jars, such as Jif or Peter Pan, which it said was safe to eat.
The warning includes only products made with peanut butter or peanut paste, including cookies, candy, crackers, ice cream and cereal.
The FDA said so far, 474 people in 43 states had been poisoned and perhaps six have died as a result of the salmonella outbreak, which was first reported to the public a little over a week ago.
Last Friday, the FDA said it was also investigating at least one peanut grower, but it did not release more information.
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