Widespread nut butters recalled

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More than 75 food products made by Sunland Inc. are being recalled due to possible contamination.

The New Mexico-based company announced a voluntary and limited recall of its almond and peanut butter products possibly contaminated with a rare strain of salmonella, an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems.

The action was initiated after learning that between mid-June and Sept. 2, 29 people reported salmonella-like illnesses in approximately 18 states, including Washington, according to a Sept. 22 report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sunland recalled the products under multiple brand names after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC linked the illness to Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter. Sunland manufactures and packages the Trader Joe’s product, said company spokeswoman, Katalin Coburn.

The company’s products, made on the same machinery as the Valencia peanut butter, were distributed nationally to numerous large supermarket chains, including Target’s Archer Farms brand.

It is important to note that no salmonella has been found in any of the recalled nut butters, Coburn pointed out. “No evidence has been found. There is only a link to that particular strain.”

The company is taking “extreme precaution,” however, until officials find out “exactly what has been going on,” she added. “This is day four. We’re doing the best we can to communicate clearly. We’re hunting for a needle in a haystack.”

Consumers who have a recalled item are urged to dispose of it or return it to the store for a full refund.

The products were distributed nationally to numerous large supermarket chains.

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