BAHA warns of possible Salmonella poisoning

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

The Belize Agricultural Health Authority, the Ministry of Health and the Consumer Protection Unit are advising the public of the possible contamination of peanut butter. This is based on an alert issued by the Food and Drug Administration of the United States that peanut butter originating from the United States may be contaminated with Salmonella. Director of Food Safety Services at the Belize Agricultural Health Authority, Michael Dashield, told Love Fm more.

Michael Dashield; Director of Food Safety Services at the BAHA
“BAHA, the Ministry of Health and the Bureau of Standards are all part of a food safety network and we get alerts from them whenever there is a food born disease outbreak that has significance for transboundary movement. Once food is exported from one country to another and there is a problem in one country we get alerts even before the media gets a hold of it. It is from one food safety authority to another. We have had an alert on peanut butter which is actually an ongoing problem; it has not been resolved yet. They are still finding more and more products; there are already quite a number of products that the FDA has identified which comes from a plant in Georgia. This plat manufactures peanut paste.”

The Salmonella bacteria

The plant in Georgia is owned by the Peanut Corporation of America and the peanut butter and peanut paste it manufactures does not go directly to the consumers.
Michael Dashield; Director of Food Safety Services at the BAHA
“They do not put it in peanut butter jars. Those are pretty safe as far as we are concerned so far. The actual thing that consumers buy usually goes to institutions and processing plants that uses the peanut paste into other goods like pastry goods, ice cream and other goods so it is a wide spread. Belize actually does some importation of a number of products so BAHA as the competent authority agricultural health and food safety have been looking at the imports to see what we have. We have a data base of what has been imported and checking to see whether we have some of these things on the market. Our food safety inspectors and the BAHA people and the Ministry of Health and the Bureau of Standards are checking the shelves to see if some of these products are there getting them off the shelves.”
Dashield says that the Belize Agricultural Health Authority will continue to regulate all imports of peanut butter products and will pass on any new information to the public.

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