Food and Drug Administration investigators have been sent to a peanut butter plant in south Georgia after a salmonella outbreak that has grown to nearly 300 cases in 39 states since August.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says it is believed to be the first salmonella outbreak associated with peanut butter.
Dr. Mike Lynch of the CDC says about 20 percent of the 288 infected people have been hospitalized, but none has died. Officials say about 85 percent of the infected people said they ate peanut butter.
Lynch says how salmonella got into the peanut butter is still under investigation.
The Food and Drug Administration in Washington warns consumers not to eat certain jars of Peter Pan or Great Value peanut butter due to the risk of contamination. The FDA says the affected jars have a product code on the lid that begins with the number 21-11.
The agency says both the Peter Pan and Great Value brands are manufactured at a single plant in Sylvester by ConAgra. Great Value peanut butter made by other manufacturers is not affected.
ConAgra says it is recalling products only as a precaution. It says none of its tests has indicated the presence of salmonella.
The largest number of cases is reported in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee and Missouri. The illness also has been reported in Georgia.
ConAgra advises consumers to discard the products if they have them but to save the product lid. For a full refund, consumers must return the product lid along with their name and mailing address to ConAgra Foods, P.O. Box 57078, Irvine, CA, 92619-7078.
Consumers with questions or concerns may call the 24-hour toll free hotline at 866-344-6970.
On the Web, for more information about salmonella go to: www.ific.org