J.M. Smucker Co. recently announced that it is recalling 3,000 jars of its Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter Chunky from stores because the peanut butter is possibly contaminated with the bacteria salmonella.
The affected jars have production codes of 1307004 and 1308004, and have "Best if used by" dates stamped on them of Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, 2012, the Associated Press reported.
This certainly isn't the first salmonella outbreak to hit the U.S., and it likely won't be the last. Recently, the recall of Turkish pine nuts from Wegmans supermarkets was in the news because of contamination with salmonella. And just this month, legal settlements were made with victims of egg-salmonella contamination, the AP reported.
Earlier this month, the FDA announced that it was stepping up its efforts to test pet food for salmonella contamination.
Samonella infection, also known as salmonellosis, is the most common source of food poisoning, according to the National Institutes of Health. Infection is most commonly contracted by consuming the bacteria from raw beef, eggs, poultry and sometimes even produce. It can also be contracted by pets' feces (particularly from reptilian and bird pets).
There are more than 2,500 types of salmonella, and some of them have become increasingly drug-resistant over the years because of antimicrobial use in both animals and humans, according to the World Health Organization.
WebMD reports that 40,000 reported cases of salmonella poisoning occur in the U.S. every year, though that number is likely up to 30 times larger because milder cases often go unreported.
When contracted from food, contamination can occur during the food processing or handling phases, particularly when a food handler doesn't properly wash his or her hands after using the restroom, WebMD reported.
When a person is infected with salmonella, the bacteria goes to live in the intestinal tract, the Mayo Clinic reported. Common symptoms usually last four to seven days, and include nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headache and even bloody stools.
Symptoms can occur 12 hours to three days after contact after a person has been infected, WebMD reported.
For most people, getting sick with salmonellosis just means a few days of being sick. But for certain populations -- including babies and young children, the elderly, people who have had organ transplants, people who have weak immune systems and pregnant women -- complications can occur that include dehydration resulting in dry mouth, decreased urination, and sunken eyes, and even bacteremia, which is when bacteria gets in the bloodstream and infects other parts of the body, according to the Mayo Clinic.
A doctor can conduct a stool culture or blood test to definitively diagnose a person with salmonella infection, WebMD reported.
Salmonella doesn't usually have to be treated, as it goes away on its own after a few days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, if a person has been severely affected and is dehydrated because of the infection, intravenous fluids may be necessary for rehydration. Antibiotics may also be necessary if infection spreads elsewhere in the body.
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