Friday, January 23, 2009
Peanut Butter Recalls
The list of products being recalled due to possible salmonella contamination keeps getting longer and longer. Everything from Keebler and Famous Amos cookies to LUNA Bars and even dog biscuits are being pulled off the shelves to eliminate any possible risk of selling products which may contain salmonella-tainted peanut butter. So far 486 (and increasing) cases of salmonella have been reported, 6 people have died and 107 have been hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The source of the contamination has been linked back to Peanut Butter Corporation of America, a plant in Blakely, Georgia that produces peanut butter and peanut paste. The peanut butter is sold in bulk ranging from 5 to 1700 pounds to companies like Kellogg’s and institutions like schools and nursing homes. The companies turn the peanut butter or peanut paste into products like cookies and crackers. Companies that manufacture products using the contaminated peanut paste which is used in candy like peanut butter cups will then sell those products to another company that will use them in ice cream, for example, then a grocery store may buy that ice cream and sell it as a private label. This has made it difficult for investigators to track down exactly which products contain peanut butter or paste originating from the Georgia plant. This is what is prompting the lengthy recall list. Hershey’s and Kraft have stated that their products, like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Nutter Butters, do not contain paste from the Georgia plant. The Girl Scout organization has claimed that their products are free of contamination as well.
In the mean time, consumers are advised to stay away from any products containing peanut butter or paste. There is no explanation for how the salmonella ended up in the peanut butter but there is speculation that it may have been contaminated after the peanuts were roasted since the high temperatures of roasting peanuts would have killed any strain of the pathogen. See an updated list of the products being recalled at the Food and Drug Administration website.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Flickr