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Laboratory, Environmental, and Epidemiologic Investigation and Regulatory Enforcement Actions in Response to an Outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney Infections Linked to Peanut Butter
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  • Alternative Title:
    Open Forum Infect Dis
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    Background.  In September 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and state and local partners investigated an outbreak of Salmonella enterica serovar Bredeney linked to peanut butter (PB). Methods.  A case was defined as infection with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney between June 1, 2012 and October 31, 2012. Food exposure questionnaires were analyzed by the CDC to determine the food vehicle. The FDA reviewed production information from Retail Chain A's sole supplier of PB, Company A. The PB samples collected from case-patients and Company A were tested for Salmonella. Results.  Forty-two case-patients from 20 states were identified. Of 33 case-patients from whom food exposure information was obtained, 25 (76%) shopped at Retail Chain A and 25 (100%) purchased Company A PB. Three state health departments isolated the outbreak strain from opened jars of PB collected from case-patients. The FDA investigators identified multiple deficiencies in current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs) in Company A's manufacturing facility and determined that internal controls were insufficient to prevent shipment of contaminated product. The FDA isolated the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney from implicated product collected at the firm and the environment of the firm's food production facility. Conclusions.  Timely laboratory, investigational, and epidemiologic data led to the voluntary recall of PB by Company A. The FDA suspended Company A's food facility registration, prohibiting the firm from introducing food into interstate commerce. This outbreak underscores the need for effective preventive controls, including robust internal environmental monitoring programs, appropriate action in response to contamination findings, and an improved understanding of food safety at the managerial and corporate levels.
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