April 6, 2007: Source of Salmonella Contamination in Peter Pan and Great Value Peanut Butter Uncovered by Investigation

According to ConAgra Foods, makers of the Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter that caused Salmonella food poisoning in hundreds of consumers, moisture coming from a leaky roof and a faulty sprinkler created conditions in which the bacteria could grow.

After two months of investigation, ConAgra determined that a roof leak during a rainstorm and a faulty sprinkler that had caused the indoor sprinkler system to go off twice created enough moisture for dormant Salmonella bacteria to grow. The bacteria probably originated from raw peanuts and peanut dust.

ConAgra spokeswoman Stephanie Childs said that the peanut butter facility in question, located in Georgia, had been cleaned thoroughly after each water incident, but that the Salmonella had survived and come in contact with the peanut butter before packaging. How that contact occurred is not known.

Approximately 425 individuals from 44 different states were harmed by consuming Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter. Consumers became ill between August 1, 2006, and February 16, 2007, with the majority falling ill after December 1, 2006.

“We understand that inspectors have found the source of the Salmonella contamination in ConAgra’s peanut butter factory,” said Eric H. Weinberg, one of a team of attorneys representing numerous victims of this food poisoning outbreak. “It would be sensible for the company to deal responsibly with the innocent customers who have suffered serious side effects from these contaminated foods.”

According to Childs, the Georgia facility is being redesigned and renovated and is scheduled to reopen in August. The redesign will create greater separation between raw peanuts and the finished product, she said.

To learn more about the work being done by the Law Offices of Eric H. Weinberg on the Salmonella peanut butter food poisoning outbreak and in other areas of the law, please visit www.erichweinberg.com.