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Potentially tainted peanut butter and other peanut products have entered the school lunch program in California, affecting as many as 70 school districts, state officials announced Thursday.

Salmonella contamination at the Peanut Corp. of America’s Georgia plant has led to a nationwide recall of peanuts and peanut products made there since Jan. 1, 2007.

Initially, state education officials believed that only peanut-butter cookie dough sold in school fundraisers was affected, but they announced Thursday that at least two truckloads of peanut butter destined for California school cafeterias were part of the expanded recall.


The Department of Education is working on identifying affected districts, but said 60 to 70 probably received the potentially tainted food. Schools in Gardena, Pomona and the City of Commerce are known to be affected.

People infected with salmonella can experience fever, diarrhea, vomiting and cramps. Among the more vulnerable, such as children and the elderly, it can be fatal.

-- Seema Mehta