Vitamin Cottage peanut butter possibly sickened 6 |

Vitamin Cottage peanut butter possibly sickened 6

DENVER ” There’s been no increase since early February in the number of salmonella cases possibly linked to peanut butter sold by Vitamin Cottage, which bought peanut butter from the Peanut Corp. of America, a Colorado health official said Monday.

Department of Public Health and Environment spokesman Mark Salley said the number of cases possibly linked to Vitamin Cottage peanut butter was six as of Feb. 5. Salley said that number has not increased, contrary to some reports.

Vitamin Cottage officials voluntarily recalled their packed fresh-ground peanut butter on Feb. 2 as a precaution because the products may have been tainted.

“We definitely want to stem any possible salmonella that may be harming consumers, so we immediately did what we needed to do,” said Heather Isely, executive vice president and co-owner of the Lakewood, Colo.-based company. Isely noted that tests conducted by the company and the Food and Drug Administration on the recalled product came back negative.

Isely said Vitamin Cottage has found a new peanut vendor, North Carolina-based Hampton Farms. She said the firm started looking for another vendor before the recall and when reports began surfacing about conditions at a Peanut Corp. of America plant.

“We don’t want to be buying from some place that’s not clean and seems to have some questionable ethics about consumer safety,” said Isely, who added she’s worried that Vitamin Cottage is being “tainted by association.”

Vitamin Cottage has 25 stores in Colorado, plus stores in Texas, New Mexico and Utah. Isely said no cases outside of Colorado have been reported.

So far, the salmonella outbreak is responsible for 600 illnesses in 43 states, and has been linked to nine deaths.

Overall, Salley said, 16 cases in Colorado have been linked to the national outbreak.

The Virginia-based Peanut Corp. of America closed two of its plants where the salmonella contamination was found ” in Blakely, Ga., and Plainview, Texas.

The company has since filed for bankruptcy.

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