On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration announced it traced a likely source of a nationwide Salmonella outbreak to a Georgia plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America, which produces peanut butter.

The plant also produces a peanut paste used in many products, including cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream. The FDA has urged the public to avoid peanut-including products.

Additionally, FDA has determined that some of the peanut butter is used in products consumed at large institutions, such as nursing homes and hospitals.

Responding, the Peanut Corporation of America shut down the Blakely, Ga. plant and recalled 21 lots of peanut butter produced on or after July 1, 2008.

“We deeply regret that this product recall is expanding and our first priority is to protect the health of our customers,” said Stewart Parnell, the company’s president, in a statement Friday. “Our company has worked around the clock for the last week with federal regulators to help identify any potential problems.”

Peanut Corporation of America also owns plants in Suffolk, Va. and Plainview, Tex.

In 2007, Peter Pan Peanut Butter, made by a different company, was pulled off store shelves worldwide after a similar bacteria outbreak.

This month’s contamination has been linked to 470 illnesses in 43 states so far and may also be responsible for six deaths.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

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