The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is advising consumers not to consume or purchase Trader Joe's brand Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made with sea salt because of a potential link to a Salmonella outbreak.
The department said other Trader Joe's brand peanut butter products may also be affected.
The state issues a release on Sept. 21 stating that "Out of an abundance of caution, consumers should consider setting aside and not consuming all Trader Joe's brand peanut butter products while the investigation continues."
In the Baltimore area, Trader Joe's has locations on East Joppa Road in Towson and on Reisterstown Road in Pikesville. Other store locations in Maryland include Columbia, Annapolis, Silver Spring, Bethesda and Rockville.
Jennifer Ross, a supervisor at the Towson location, said on Saturday that store — and all stores in the company — have pulled the Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter with sea salt from the shelves while the investigation is under way.
"It's a company-wide thing," she said.
The DHMH said it working with several state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to investigate a multi-state outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney infection. Maryland has one case, a child under 18 who was not hospitalized and has since recovered. Some affected individuals in other states have been hospitalized, the department said.
DHMH officials said they would update the public on the progress of this investigation as information becomes available.
Symptoms of Salmonella infection included diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps from six to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts two to seven days, and most persons recover without treatment. However, in some cases, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient requires hospitalization.
The department said salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated with antibiotics.
Older adults, infants, and those with impaired immune systems are more likely to have a severe illness from Salmonella infection. Anyone with these symptoms who has consumed Trader Joe's brand Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made with sea salt should consult a health care provider.
More information about salmonellosis can be found at the DHMH website