Military pulls peanut products from rations
January 30, 2009
Roughly 1,000 Europe-bound bulk meals used by U.S. military personnel contain peanut butter products that are part of a massive recall because of possible salmonella contamination, officials said.
The U.S. military has pulled commercial products from store shelves and also from Unitized Group Rations-A, or what old-timers might call T-Rats.
The UGR-As are "modules of commercial food items [that] provide a complete meal for 50 personnel," said Lt. Col. Martin LaGodna, deputy commander of the Europe Regional Veterinary Command. They often are used by deployed troops or those in the field for training exercises.
Most of the 1,000 modules still are sailing by ship from the United States to Europe, but those few that have arrived already have had the products removed, LaGodna said. "We’ll continue to look for them … over the next couple of months."
The products are not included in the military’s Meals, Ready to Eat, or MREs.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a massive recall Jan. 10 for peanut butter products made at the Peanut Corporation of America’s plant in Blakely, Ga., because of possible Salmonella Typhimurium contamination in bulk peanut butter and peanut butter paste.
On Wednesday, the FDA asked retailers, manufacturers and consumers to throw out every product made in the past two years from peanuts processed at the Georgia plant, according The Washington Post. The action came after federal officials discovered this month that Peanut Corporation of America knowingly shipped products contaminated with salmonella 12 times in 2007 and 2008, the Post reported, prompting a congresswoman to call for a criminal investigation by the Justice Department.
The salmonella outbreak in the U.S. has been linked to eight deaths. In all, about 500 people in 43 states have become ill.
There have been no reported cases of salmonella poisoning throughout the U.S. medical treatment facilities and clinics in Europe, military officials said Thursday.
The salmonella outbreak in the U.S. prompted commissaries and retail outlets worldwide to pull some peanut butter products from shelves after the military issued All Food/Drug Activities, the military version of a recall, LaGodna said.
The Army’s veterinary commands and U.S. Air Force Public Health inspectors work with food outlets to help remove and properly store recalled products. Typically, there is a 72-hour window once notification is made, but if a recalled product could lead to illnesses, as in this case, "usually within hours we have gotten it all pulled," LaGodna said.
Girl Scout cookie products worldwide are not affected by the recall.
For details, visit the Federal and Drug Administration Web site at www.fda.gov, and click on the peanut product recall banner.