The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just issued a salmonella warning for some batches of Peter Pan peanut butter after linking more than 280 cases of food poisoning in 39 different states to the product. Con Agra, the manufacturer of the peanut butter, has already called for a recall, but unlike with the fresh veggies that were affected by an E. coli contamination last fall, the long shelf-life of peanut butter means that people who fail to check their jars at home could face problems at a later time. Fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps are common effects, but for those with autoimmune disorders or other serious medical conditions, salmonella infections can be life threatening.
All of the peanut butters in question are under the brand names "Peter Pan" and "Great Value" and bear the number 2111 at the beginning of the product code on the lid. They were all made at a single factory in Georgia. The first consumer that was affected by the peanut butter-borne salmonella became ill in August of 2006, so if you bought your peanut butter (assuming it's Peter Pan brand) around that time, or even a bit before, it is wise to throw it out and start with something fresh.
I wonder if we're just doing a better job of reporting illness and locating its source. I can't believe we didn't get sick from all of these foods before. It's only natural!