The salmonella outbreak in peanut butter has many people worried, and some sick or even dead. Peanut lovers are called to exercise caution up to the point of removing peanut butter and other peanut products from their diet.
Professor Ghiorse of Cornell University discussed this outbreak in one of his Microbiology lectures, and he announced that it is safe to eat brands such as Peter Pan and Skippy peanut butter.
I was relieved by this since I have been eating Peter Pan peanut butter every week or so since this semester began.
In BioMI 2910, a course in experimental microbiology at Cornell University, Professor Sue Merkel began one of her lectures discussing this salmonella outbreak. She mentioned that one of the most unnerving things about having this outbreak in peanut butter is that these products generally don't go bad. In fact, the peanut plant in question tested positive for salmonella twelve times over the past 2 years. They just kept retesting until they got the results that were negative. This means peanut products produced over the last two years may be tainted. Peanuts from one plant end up widely distributed-another factor that increases the reach of this outbreak.
More than 500 cases of salmonella have been reported, and even more remain unreported. Fortunately, salmonella is not fatal. If one does not have a compromised immune system, the symptoms may be nothing more than a mild tummy ache. On the other end of the spectrum, there could be high fevers and even deaths as a result of salmonella poisoning.
It is so interesting how such small organisms can cause such great problems for humans. The more I think about it, the more I agree with Prof. Ghiorse's statement that, "MICROBES RULE THE WORLD!"