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Events in ConAgra Peanut Butter Recall


By The Associated Press

Timeline of key events in ConAgra Foods Inc.’s recall of all peanut butter made at its Sylvester, Ga., plant:

August 2006 — First cases of Salmonella Tennessee, the rare strain linked to this outbreak, are reported.

August 2006 — Moisture invades ConAgra plant in Sylvester through a roof leak and the building’s fire sprinkler system, which goes off twice because of a faulty sprinkler head. Company officials would later blame this moisture for helping salmonella bacteria grow in the plant.

Feb. 14, 2007 — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announce that the salmonella outbreak is linked to Peter Pan peanut butter. The CDC and state health agencies had noticed a spike in cases of people sickened with the Salmonella Tennessee strain, and interviews with victims revealed peanut butter as a link.

Feb. 14, 2007 — ConAgra announces a recall of all Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter made at the plant. The affected jars all carried a product code beginning with "2111."  NOTE – The recall first was from August 2006 it was then extended back to October 2004 – Why?

Feb. 20, 2007 — ConAgra estimates that its nationwide recall of peanut butter will cost between $50 million and $60 million.

March 7, 2007 — CDC announces that 425 people in 44 states have become ill with Salmonella Tennessee. The onset dates for most of those cases range between Aug. 1, 2006, and Feb. 16, 2007. Two-thirds of those cases were reported between Dec. 1 and Feb. 16.

April 5, 2007 — ConAgra releases findings of its investigation and blames moisture for helping salmonella spread. Company also announces plans to renovate the plant.

Despite the AP report, I have learned that the current Salmonella Tennessee case stool and urine positives (substantial numbers of ill people had urinary tract infections instead of stool cultures) have risen to 563 in 47 States. The first reported case is in August 2006 and remaining constant, but low, through September, spiking in October, November, December and then starting to trend down in January and February 2007. There does not appear to be a significant number of matched Salmonella Tennessee cases pre-August 2006 (ten in August and thirteen January to July 2006 and thirty cases in 2005) that are EPI-linked to Peanut Butter despite the recall date being extended to October 2004 (I am not aware of many matched Salmonella Tennessee cases in 2004, although there may well be a few).

We generally use the CDC estimates of unreported illnesses (caused by no or lost stool or urine cultures) at about 20 to 30 times the official CDC number (here 563 during the months of August 2006 and February 2007). We therefore think that the actual number of cases is likely to be between 11,260 and 16,89

  • Jan

    Both my husband and I weere stricken by this peanut butter. I went to the hospital and my husband almost died. We hired the law firm of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein out of Nashville in July 2007. We were stricken in May 2006. Now, after over 3 years, they have dropped out case citing that ConAgra will only settle cases where sickness occurred after August 2007. We have the jar with the correct tracking number but this law firm didn’t think we should have to get the peanut butter tested. Now it is too late.
    DO NOT HIRE THIS LAW FIRM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jan If my post goes up and you can reply please do. If you get this contact me please.

  • Dennis Cheatham

    My son and I were also stricken by this peanut butter. My son almost died and is still suffering the effects of this salmonella exposure. We also retained the law firm- Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein out of Nashville. We were told the same information by this law firm. “There was no need to have the peanut butter tested.” In 2009, this law firm infomred us that they were dropping our case.
    My son develped all the symptoms from exposure to Salmonella thru the Peter Pan Peanut butter. For 2 years we visited Dr’s and hospitals tryng to find a diagnosis for our son’s diarrhea, severe stomach cramps, de-hydration, nausea, vomiting etc. His symptoms became worse and he eventually began to pass out and defficate himself. Approx. 3 mth.s before the Conagra recall, we suspected it was the peanut butter when I suffered the same symptoms after eating peanut butter for breakfast and became sick. We took our son off the peanut butter approx. 3 mth.s before the Conagra / Peter Pan recall. He slowly began to improve, but the cadio dr’s said he had suffered heart damage. They are very reluctant to tie the heart damage directly to the Salmonella contaminated Peanut Butter. Our son has now suffered over 5 cardic arrests which have left him with a heart pace maker and other severe complications as a result of these events. Our medical bills total over $1.5 million dollars. More importantly, we fear that many other childen and adults have suffered the same effects of long term salmonella exposure as a result of this horrific peanut butter contamination and exposure. We are very dissapointed with the law firm and regret entrusting them with our case and future….Please contact me if you have suffered any of the same symptoms and have any suggestions on how to prove the connection between our son’s heart problems and this Salmonella exposure.

    • Mr. Cheatham,

      I am horrified at your story and I am sure there are so many others like us. I am currently pursuing some type contact with ConAgra. I am sick and also have been unable to file a lawsuit. I have additional information.

      Please contact me and anyone else who is still sick and unable to file suit

  • B Randolph

    I know it has been years since people ate the peanut butter. Our Grandaughter became sick senior year of high school. She had no bowel control for months and now 9 years later she is disabled. We finally made the connection that we had 2 jars she was eating from. The sicker she got the more crackers and peanut butter we encouraged thinking it would help her. The doctor records linked her sickness to the peanut butter possibly. She was being treated for a heart condition, severe bowel control and bladder control. She was booted from beta club as her grades slid her condition improved some. She graduated from college as a x Ray technician in 2011 finished HS 2007. She was repeatly treated for heart condition numerous emergency ambulance and Doctor were thinking her heart. Long story short today in 2016 she is on total disability due to Naucalepsy with Cataplexy. Ability to drive is 5 miles a trip. She wants her job back she was so happy working. Now she spends her life sleeping approximately 100 hours in a week. Days she goes can’t wake for bladder control sleep isn’t resting sleep when awake her days awake feel like normal people feel when staying up for 24 hours. We failed to get in any lawsuit. Largely due to doctors and not being sure of what was going on. I encourage everyone this is suggestion if you get sick caused by eating contaminated product get legal help soon better sorry than as she is an invalid now. What does recompense the owners should have been required to pay all damages and future damage. My granddaughter has lost her life due to their greed. Hanging is too good and why not everyone who shipped product knowing of the contamination. Gov. Failed also they supposedly were overseeing our nations food supply. How many parties were the inspectors at with the people they are suppose to be policing? She is headed for disability that our gov. Is doing away with. Statue of limitations I guess are up and she is being cared for by her family the rest of her life. Her life is shortened there is no cure treatment is amphetimine to wake up few hours a week. Not a drug addict but without Aderal she can’t wake, can’t be alone. Can’t clean her home or feed herself. And people hear the owner say I’m sorry. He hasn’t torn our walls down trying to help our granddaughter. She had eaten 2 jars from that contaminated lot both jars had only small amount left. Doctor confirmed a possibility they don’t want involved. Why if he is sorry don’t he and this company come forward and do the right thing? Never hold back going after these greedy people. Wish we could we were busy finding her help and were not knowledgeable of what was taking place. Took years to find the cause. Statue I’m sure are too late these people are murders and greedy and get slapped in wrist and the statue laws set up to protect them. This is 2016 we still finding out about how this act killed and destroyed people and many more out there who like us knew nothing about the incurable diseases that are being linked to the poison they knew was in their product.