Peanut butter crisis hits US military in Germany

The US military is conducting a mass recall of peanut butter products from their German and European facilities after Salmonella-tainted foods caused eight deaths and some 500 illnesses across America this week, Europe Regional Medical Command in Heidelberg said on Thursday.

Peanut butter crisis hits US military in Germany
Damn, it was our only comfort for homesickness! Photo: DPA

“Peanut butter products identified by the FDA and corporate recalls have been removed from US military outlets in Europe,” Lt. Col. Martin LaGodna, deputy commander of the Europe Regional Veterinary Command said in a statement. “Our inspectors will continue to assist as needed to remove additional food products if any are identified.”

Recalled peanut butter products have already been identified in some military rations within Europe, which is home to some 56,000 American service members and second only to the number of troops stationed in Iraq. The majority of these are Army troops stationed at bases in Grafenwöhr, Baumholder, Wiesbaden, Kaiserslautern and Stuttgart.

Authorities will also cull peanut butter products from military store shelves, vending machines, theatres, dining facilities, troop ration warehouses and other places on US bases where those items may be sold or distributed, the statement said.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recalled products that contain peanut butter from Georgia-based bulk producer, the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), on January 23 after confirming the product was the source of the Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak. PCA distributed potentially contaminated peanut butter to more than to more than 70 food producers that could have used it in hundreds of products, such as cookies, crackers, cereal, candy, ice cream, and pet food, the FDA reported.

Salmonella Typhimurium can cause diarrhoea, fever, and cramping between 12 to 72 hours after exposure. While the infection normally lasts up to a week, it can have life-threatening consequences for those with weaker immune systems.