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By MarcWites

RECALL: Smucker’s Chunky Peanut Butter Salmonella Contamination

21The J.M. Smucker Company announced on November 17, 2011 that it was recalling jars of its Smucker’s Natural Chunky Peanut Butter sold in 24 states and the District of Columbia.  Product sampling revealed that certain product might be contaminated with salmonella, which can cause serious illnesses, and even death.

The Recalled Product: Smucker’s Chunky Peanut Butter

Here are the details of the recalled product:

  1. Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter Chunky (not Smooth);
  2. 16 ounce jars;
  3. Sold in Washington, D.C. and in 24 states: Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin;
  4. Purchased from Nov. 8, 2011 through Nov. 17, 2011;
  5. Bearing UPC code 5150001701;
  6. Also with production codes 1307004 and 1308004;
  7. Carrying “best-if-used-by” dates of Aug. 3, 2012 and Aug. 4, 2012.

What to do With Recalled Product: Smucker’s Chunky Peanut Butter

Immediately place the product in a place and manner that will not allow people or animals to consume it. Although Smucker’s suggests immediate disposal, you may wish to keep the product in a safe place in case you or someone who ate the peanut butter either develop symptoms of salmonella poisoning in the next few days, or if you encounter difficulties in obtaining reimbursement from Smucker’s or your grocer.
Smucker’s is providing replacement coupons, but may ask for “proof of purchase.”  It asks consumers to call (888)550-9555 for the coupons.

Symptoms of Salmonella

If you or someone you know recently consumed any of the recalled peanut butter, you should be on the lookout for the following symptoms which usually develop within 12 to 72 hours of consumption of a tainted product:  diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps.   Children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are most at risk for serious consequences.  In fact, a 2009 salmonella breakout attributed to peanuts processed in a Georgia plant resulted in over 700 reported illnesses and 9 deaths.

If You are Sick and Suspect Salmonella Poisoning

Immediately contact your doctor.  Salmonella is a very dangerous bacteria and, although most people recover after four to seven days, salmonella poisoning can result in serious health consequences and even death.  Your doctor can perform tests to determine if salmonella caused your illness.  You should also keep the peanut butter in a safe place (where no one will eat it) as it may be needed for testing, too.

Your Legal Rights

If you become ill from a product tainted with salmonella you may be able to obtain compensation from the food producer or manufacturer.  Keeping the recalled product can assist with proving the source of your illness.
You also are entitled to a refund or replacement product.  Since most people do not keep grocery receipts for extended time, the jar of peanut butter may be your best “proof of purchase.”

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Marc A. Wites

Marc A. Wites is the founding shareholder of Wites & Rogers. He directs the firm’s litigation practice groups for personal injury and wrongful death cases, class actions, property insurance claims, sexual assault, and investment fraud.

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