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China bans imports of US peanut butter after food scare

BEIJING (AFP) - China's ministry of health has warned consumers against eating two brands of US-made peanut butter and has banned imports and sales of the products, state press said Saturday.

The ministry banned the "Peter Pan" and "Great Value" brands of peanut butter after the World Health Organization warned that the products could be contaminated by the food-borne bacterium salmonella, Xinhua news agency said.

The ministry warned people not to buy the brands and suggested that those who have eaten the foods seek medical advice if they come down with fever, abdominal pain or diarrhoea, it said.

Chinese import agents of the two brands were also ordered to immediately recall their products, it added.

Food-borne illness, which affected at least 288 people across 39 US states, has been linked to the consumption of varying types of peanut butter, US officials said last week.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned Americans not to eat the contents of certain jars of Peter Pan peanut butter or Great Value peanut butter "due to risk of contamination with Salmonella Tennessee, a bacterium that causes food-borne illness."