Shenzhen's entry-exit inspection and quarantine bureau confirmed to the Shenzhen Daily yesterday that the two US brands of peanut butter linked to a salmonella outbreak in the United States were not available in Shenzhen.
Gu Xin, a spokesman for the bureau, told the newspaper that the two brands of peanut butter, Peter Pan and the Wal-Mart house brand Great Value, both manufactured by the US-based ConAgra Foods Inc., had not been imported into Shenzhen after May 2006.
"We also launched an emergent checkout through local supermarkets and department stores after receiving a notice from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ) on Friday," he said.
The GAQSIQ said in a statement on its Web site that the contaminated peanut butter had been imported into China, and further imports should be halted immediately.
In Beijing, local authorities seized 586 boxes of Peter Pan peanut butter on Saturday and another 156 boxes were recalled.
According to the Shenzhen Municipal Health Bureau, consumption of a small amount of peanut butter contaminated with salmonella could cause food-borne illnesses. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.
Consumers who bought Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter manufactured after May 2006 with the number 2111 printed on the lid should stop consuming the products and contact local retailers or distributors for a refund, the health officials said.
ConAgra's Chinese distributor is Goodwell China Co. Ltd., and its refund hotline number is 86-21- 64876287.
The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported earlier that 329 people from 41 states had fallen ill in the food poisoning outbreak since August.
(Shenzhen Daily February 26, 2007)