POSTED: Friday, February 20, 2009

State warns about peanut products

People should not eat peanut products or feed them to their pets if they are unsure whether the products have been recalled in the latest salmonella outbreak, the state Department of Health said in a news release.

“;If you have a peanut product on the recall list we recommend the product be discarded,”; said Lynn Nakasone, chief of the Department of Health Food and Drug Branch. “;We also advise that you refrain from eating other peanut products such as cookies, crackers, cereal, candy and ice cream until you are sure those products are not part of this nationwide recall.”;

Five cases in Hawaii have been linked to the outbreak of the bacteria strain Salmonella typhimurium. The cases, however, have not been linked to peanut products identified in the FDA's recall list.

More than 600 people across the country have become sick from salmonella since the outbreak started last year. More than 2,100 products from 200 companies have been recalled. The list continues to grow.

People infected with salmonella can develop diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days but could require hospitalization. Anyone who thinks they may have become ill from eating peanut products should contact their physician.

A list of recalled products can be found at the Health Department Web site at http://www.hawaii.gov/health or by calling the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at (888) 723-3366.


Ex-lawyer on Maui is sentenced

A federal judge sentenced a former Maui lawyer who was disbarred in 2002 for unethical conduct, including stealing clients' money, to three months in custody for bank fraud and recommended he serve the sentence in a federal prison camp.

Lowell D. Chatburn, 61, pleaded guilty in October to forging a $18,280 check payable to a client in April 2002, depositing the check into his own bank account and then withdrawing the money. As part of his plea agreement, the government dropped two other similar charges.

U.S. District Judge David Ezra said he imposed the light sentence because so much time has passed since Chatburn committed the crime, and he has not gotten in trouble since.

But he said some amount of jail time was necessary to send a message to lawyers that it is not OK to take clients' money even if it is only temporary.

“;I'm not happy at all with a lawyer who abuses the trust of a client,”; Ezra said.


Kids' meal reimbursements offered

Schools, public agencies and private nonprofit groups may apply for federal reimbursements to serve meals to children in low-income communities during the summer, according to the Hawaii Department of Education.

Free or reduced-price meals are available during the academic year through the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, but not when school lets out for the summer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Summer Food Service Program provides meals when school is not in session, and sponsoring organizations get reimbursed for serving food to children up to age 18.

More information is available by calling Terri Kam-Ogawa at the Hawaii Education Department's Office of Hawaii Child Nutrition Programs at 587-3600.