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Recent Salmonella Outbreak Prompts Calls For Better Food Safety Laws

Officials in Congress are calling for a modernization of food safety laws after a recent Salmonella outbreak responsible for making 474 people ill in 43 states and killing as many as six people.

Rep. Rosa L DeLauro (D-Connecticut) said that the recent outbreak confirms the need to modernize food safety laws.

"Given the numerous food-borne illness outbreaks over the past several years, it is becoming painfully clear that the current regulatory structure is antiquated and ill-equipped to handle these extensive investigations," stated Rep. DeLauro.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that they have traced the tainted peanut butter and peanut paste responsible for the most recent outbreak to Peanut Corp.'s Blakely, Georgia, plant.

Production at the plant has ceased and recalls of products made with peanut products from the plant continue.

General Mills announced Monday a recall of its LARABAR Peanut Butter Cookie flavor snack bars and JamFrakas Peanut Butter Blisscrisp flavor snack bars because they were made with peanut butter purchased from Peanut Corp., the suspected source of the contamination.

Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products on Sunday announced its recall of all Wal-Mart "Bakery" brands of peanut butter cookies, peanut butter no-bake cookies and peanut-butter-fudge no-bake cookies.

McKee Foods also announced on Sunday a recall of its Little Debbie Peanut Butter Toasty and Peanut Butter Cheese sandwich crackers, which were manufactured for McKee by Kellogg Co.

The FDA said that recalls are not linked to any national, name-brand peanut butter. Most of the products from the Blakely plant were sued by food companies to make cookies, cereal, crackers, ice cream and candy. Some peanut butter also went to institutional food service, which supplies schools, hospitals and nursing homes.

Kellogg Co. announced Monday that it found the bacteria in one package of Austin Quality Foods Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter, a product that had been recalled prior to the finding.

A complete list of items included in the recall is available on the FDA's Web site.