Are there any peanut products left in American supermarkets?
I am one of those who subscribe to updates from the US FDA and other US health agencies because it’s part of my job as a medical writer to keep updated on health and medical issues. I usually get an update every 2 or 3 days, which usually concerns pharmaceutical approvals, warnings, and recalls. However during the last couple of weeks, my In Box is being flooded with peanut butter warnings and recall notices from the US FDA, at least 5 times a day.
The recall list initially included only peanut butter products due to possible Salmonella contamination of peanut butter produced in some facilities of the Peanut Corporation of America. Since then, the list has grown to include pet foods, to ice cream, to fruit and nut mix, to peanut-containing coffee at Walgreens and Thai peanut tofu wraps. In other words, almost all products which contain peanuts are being recalled.
Mind you, I am not a US resident so I wouldn’t know about all these products being recalled. An American friend of mine, however, whose 3 kids are fond of peanut butter and other peanut-containing products, had to throw away lots of possibly contaminated things from her fridge and pantry. And she said she is having problems with the fact that products originally thought to be safe (and she therefore bought) are suddenly being placed on the list as part of an expanded recall which now includes around 400 products.
To be fair, most of the companies recalling their products are doing it voluntarily as precautionary measures although no illnesses have been reported in connection with those products.
The FDA site has a videoclip (featured above) that gives some do’s and don’ts on the peanut salmonella outbreak. The main messages are:
- Consumers are advised to regularly check for recall lists and updates at http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/salmonellatyph.html
- Do not eat peanut-containing products unless you know the source is safe.
- If you don’t know the source, you might want to call the company and ask.
- Just to play it safe, avoid peanut-containing products until this is over.
I am really wondering whether the recalls would spill over to other parts of the world. I know that some products have reached Canada and have been recalled. A lot of our peanut butter in Europe – and my kids are big fans – is imported from the US!