Columbus Dispatch (OH)
October 18, 2012
Shoppers could find more familiar products absent from store shelves as a result of the expansion of a peanut recall that began late last month.
New Mexico company Sunland Inc. extended its recall late last week to include raw, roasted, shelled and in-shell peanuts. That triggered a new round of recall notices from brands including Hines and Clover Valley, which are sold at Dollar General stores. Products affected include Trader Joe’s peanut butter, certain Velvet ice creams and Cascadian Farms granola bars.
The Sunland recall due to salmonella fears is turning into a massive effort by the peanut processor—as well as foodmakers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers nationwide—because of the number of foods that contain the recalled peanut and almond butters.
“Peanut butter is a component in many different products,” said Nate Filer, president and CEO of the Ohio Grocers Association. “That’s why you see (this recall) affecting more products than the usual recall.”
A check of Kroger’s recall notices shows a long list of Sunland and related products that have been pulled from the grocers’ shelves since late September. In the Columbus area, these products include Naturally More Almond Butter, Newman’s Own Peanut Butter O’s and Cascadian Organic Peanut Butter Chip Bar, said Jackie Siekmann, spokeswoman for Kroger’s Columbus division.
“When we’re alerted, our biggest concern is customer safety. We immediately pull the product off the shelf,” Siekmann said, adding that holders of Kroger’s Plus cards get phone calls and receipt messages about any recalled items they have purchased.
Giant Eagle has a similar system to notify customers about Class 1 recalls, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. At Walmart, a few national brands of peanut butter were recalled, but the retailer’s house brand, Great Value, is made by a different company, spokeswoman Dianna Gee said.
On Sept. 24, Sunland voluntarily recalled peanut and almond butters after state, local and federal public health and regulatory agencies traced a multistate salmonella outbreak to Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Salted Peanut Butter made with Sea Salt, which is made by the New Mexico company.
On Oct. 4, Sunland extended the nut-butter recall to products made as far back as March 1, 2010. And on Friday, Sunland recalled its peanuts. The company is asking consumers not to consume recalled products and either dispose of them or return them to their place of purchase. Most grocers are offering full refunds for the recalled peanut and almond-butter products.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working with Sunland to investigate the rare strain of salmonella found in some of the processor's products and equipment.
The FDA on Saturday confirmed that the strain is the same one that sickened 35 people in 19 states. So far, illnesses have not been reported in Ohio. Salmonella bacteria can cause serious or fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. So far, no deaths have been reported.
Sunland told the FDA it has stopped processing nuts and nut butters at its plants in Portales, NM, until the investigation is completed.
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