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General Mills Inc. and grocers Kroger Co. and Meijer Inc. joined the growing list of food companies and retailers pulling items with peanut butter amid a salmonella outbreak that has killed at least six people and sickened more than 470 others in 43 states.

The Food and Drug Administration has traced the outbreak to a Georgia plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America, which manufactures peanut butter and peanut paste for distribution to institutions and food companies.

The government has advised consumers to avoid eating cookies, cakes, ice cream and other foods containing peanut butter until health officials learn more about the contamination. Most peanut butter sold in jars at supermarkets appears to be safe, officials said.

The FDA has created a searchable list of recalled products and brands on the agency's Web site. Salmonella, a bacteria, is the most common cause of food poisoning in the U.S., causing diarrhea, cramping and fever.

On Sunday, Peanut Corp. expanded its own recall to all peanut butter and peanut paste produced since July 1 at its plant in Blakely, Ga. The recalled products were distributed to institutions, food service industries and private label food companies in 24 states.

"We deeply regret that this product recall has expanded, and our first priority is to protect the health of our customers," said Stewart Parnell, president of Peanut Corp.

Meijer, which operates 181 stores in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky, said Monday it was voluntarily recalling two types of crackers — Meijer brand Cheese and Peanut Butter, and Toasty Peanut Butter — and two varieties of ice cream: Peanut Butter and Jelly, and Peanut Butter Cup.


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