NC inspectors search for tainted peanut butter

RALEIGH Click here for the latest recalls Eyewitness News has learned that a sample of peanut butter at a cracker plant in Cary tested positive for salmonella.

So, as a precautionary measure, state inspectors are doing spot checks to make sure recalled peanut butter products are off store shelves.

Jim Melvin is one of several inspectors from the N.C. Department of Agriculture who are scanning store shelves.

The CDC now reports 501 people in 43 states and Canada have been sick with salmonella linked to peanut butter. Eight have died, including one in N.C.

And that may not be all of the victims.

"Statistics show for every one case, there's probably 40 unreported cases," Melvin said. "So, it's just a small number compared to what really may be out there."

The FDA just finished its inspection of the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Georgia. Officials say the facility is the source of the outbreak.

Investigators found products at the Georgia plant that tested positive for salmonella 12 times over the last two years and no one notified authorities.

According to the FDA, when another lab tested those products and reported results, the products were still shipped out.

The Kellogg's plant in Cary gets its peanut butter from PCA to make Keebler and Austin crackers that are now included in a growing recall list.

While one sample of peanut butter tested positive for salmonella, more tests will be conducted this week to determine if the strain of salmonella is linked to the outbreak.

It must also be determined if that peanut butter made it out of the Cary plant and onto store shelves.

Eyewitness News found some of the recalled crackers at a convenience store near N.C. State last week.

The spot inspectors will continue their stops across the state Wednesday.

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