Peanut butter is a staple in many children’s diets, but a massive recall may up the ranks of ham and turkey. The country’s largest organic peanut plant is facing a major scrub down after their products were linked to an outbreak of salmonella, and more than 200 peanut products have been recalled for the safety of consumers.
The manufacturing company, Sunland Inc., is located in New Mexico. The region is noted for its prized Valencia peanut, which is often used for natural peanut butter for its sweetness. The town of Portales celebrates an annual peanut festival, but the New Mexico Peanut Growers Association has voiced concerns about the salmonella outbreak and stated that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve some changes.
Salmonella is a bacterium that comes with unpleasant symptoms, such as diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. Most people recover without treatment within four to seven days, but in some cases, severe diarrhea can lead to necessary hospitalization. These patients are faced with the serious risk of the infection spreading from the intestines to the blood stream (and onto other areas of the body), which can be fatal unless treated promptly with antibiotics.
Sunland, Inc. closed in late September after the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found a link between a salmonella outbreak and peanut butter produced for Trader Joe’s. After the FDA confirmed salmonella in the products, Sunland recalled everything made in their facilities since March 2010. This includes many peanut and other nut butters labeled as “organic” or “natural,” but it excludes major brands like Jif, Skippy, and Peanut Butter.
It is not only grocery stores having to remove products from their shelves. Officials contacted school lunch programs nationwide about their stocks of Smucker’s Uncrustables sandwiches. All of the potentially contaminated sandwiches should have either expired already or will be expiring soon, but it was advised not to serve them to students.
Thus far, 35 people in 19 states have been infected, and most of them are children. Young children and older adults are most susceptible to becoming seriously ill from salmonella.
A number of products under various brand names have been recalled besides Trader Joe’s, including General Mills, Giant Food, Luna & Larry’s, Newman’s Own Organics, Archer Farms, Fresh & Easy, Natural Value, and a wide variety of Sunland brand products. A full list can be viewed on the FDA’s website.
Sources for this article include:
- Peanut Butter Recall Extended to Raw, Roasted Peanuts (abcnews.go.com)