Salmonellosis outbreak traced to Banquet brand pot pies

Some pies with the Banquet Band are contaminated.
Some pies with the Banquet Band are contaminated.

Oregon consumers are being urged to not eat any Banquet brand pot pies following a large, multi-state outbreak of salmonellosis, state public health official announced today. Banquet brand pot pies are sold in the freezer section at grocery stores and other outlets throughout the nation.
    
The pot pies have code numbers beginning with "5009" or would have a "P9" code. Consumers are urged to discard the items. 

"If you have any of these products in your freezer, we
recommend that you throw them out," Dr. William E. Keene, a senior
communicable disease epidemiologist at the Oregon Public Health
Division. "Anyone who has eaten the product but did not become ill need
not take any special action. However, those who currently have severe
diarrhea or diarrhea with fever should tell their doctor if they have
consumed pot pies within the week before they became sick."
   
The
manufacturer, ConAgra, has suspended production and is instituting a
"market hold" on all pot pies produced at their Marshall, Missouri,
plant. The "hold" also includes a number of "private label" store
brands produced at the same location with the same "5009" code number.
A market hold means that retailers are being asked to temporarily
suspend all sales and hold product in distribution channels pending
further investigation.
   
Consumers and retailers are
encouraged to contact ConAgra (1-866-484-8671) for more information
about the market hold or go to www.conagrafoods.com.
   
To
date, at least 135 lab-confirmed cases with indistinguishable DNA
profiles have been identified from 30 states, including Oregon. At
least 20 cases were hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported. The
number of reported cases has been increasing in recent weeks.
   
"In
our state only two cases have been confirmed so far," Keene said "But
we estimate that for every confirmed case, there are at least 25 or
more other people who became ill."
   
The source of
contamination at the ConAgra facility is currently unknown, but appears
to have been ongoing for some months. USDA investigators are currently
working at the plant with ConAgra staff.
   
Salmonella
infections can cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramping, and sometimes
vomiting. Symptoms typically last less than a week, but some
individuals, particularly infants, the elderly, and those with
immunodeficiencies are at increased risk for severe illness. Antibiotic
therapy is of no value for most patients, and can lead to prolonged
excretion of the organism, increasing the risk of person-to-person
spread.
   
Salmonella bacteria are widely distributed among
animals and in the environment. Poultry is very often contaminated, and
other outbreaks have been traced to produce, meat, and unpasteurized
milk and cheese. Salmonella in food can be killed by thorough cooking,
but they can survive undercooking or uneven cooking, as may happen in
some microwave ovens.

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