King Nut peanut butter source of national Salmonella outbreak

I didn’t want to engage in any premature e-speculation, but epidemiology usually works. And I still dislike peanut butter. And jazz.

Today, the Minnesota Departments of Agriculture and Health announced that laboratory analyses have confirmed a genetic match between the strains of Salmonella bacteria found in a container of King Nut brand creamy peanut butter and the strains of bacteria associated with 30 illnesses in Minnesota and nearly 400 illnesses around the country.

MDA lab tests conducted last week discovered Salmonella bacteria in a 5-pound package of King Nut peanut butter collected from a long-term care facility associated with one of the reported illnesses.  The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) issued a product advisory on Friday alerting institutions that may have received the product.

MDA and MDH scientists performed additional testing this weekend to verify the connection between the contaminated product and the illnesses.

State officials initially discovered the contaminated product through product testing conducted after MDH epidemiological evidence and an investigation by MDA’s Rapid Response Team implicated King Nut creamy peanut butter as a likely source of Salmonella infections in Minnesota residents.

In the product advisory issued Friday, state officials urged establishments who may have the product on hand to avoid serving it, pending further instructions as the investigation progresses.

King Nut peanut butter is produced by Peanut Corporation of America, of Lynchburg, Va., and is distributed nationally by Ohio-based King Nut Companies. The product was distributed in Minnesota to establishments such as long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools, universities, restaurants, delis, cafeterias and bakeries. King Nut Companies reports that the product is not distributed for retail sale to consumers, and has voluntarily withdrawn the product from distribution.

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About Douglas Powell

A former professor of food safety and the publisher of, Powell is passionate about food, has five daughters, and is an OK goaltender in pickup hockey. Download Doug’s CV here. Dr. Douglas Powell editor, retired professor, food safety 3/289 Annerley Rd Annerley, Queensland 4103 61478222221 I am based in Brisbane, Australia, 15 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time