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January 21, 2009

Peanut butter and salmonella



Yesterday I got a newsletter with the headline "The FDA has urged caution on all products containing peanuts." Wow.

One problem, of course, is that if you read the nutritional information about ANY food it always has a disclaimer that it may contain peanuts (who knew?) or that peanuts are processed in the same factory as it is or whatever.

But the larger problem is that just reading about peanuts and salmonella causes an unbearable craving for peanuts and peanut butter. First, no tomatoes. Then no jalapeno peppers. And now no peanuts? ...

Remember, I just bought those gourmet red-skin peanuts from Virginia that are so expensive I only let myself eat one of them at a time. And I buy Planters Peanuts for my husband because he once said, "I don't  think those red-skin peanuts are so special." I've never given him a second crack at them.

As for peanut butter, I know that our story says that peanut butter in jars is OK. But what mother is going to take a chance? And what are mothers going to do now for a lunch that a) doesn't need refrigeration and b) their kids will actually eat?

What will we make peanut butter cookies with if we can't trust peanut butter in a jar?

Or Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?

Or peanut-butter-swirl ice cream, the salty, peanut-buttery vein running through smooth, sweet vanilla ice cream?

(Photo of peanut butter cookies with raspberry jelly filling by Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 7:37 AM | | Comments (30)


Or the Little Debbie chocolate covered wafers with peanut butter. Also dear hubby survives off those peanutbutter crackers what do I get him now?

I view this entire episode as a way to test the phrase, "to die for".

We are so sure we are winning the war against terror but is are our food sources really secure?

This mother is taking a chance on PB in the jar. Let us not spiral here. But this gave me an excellent excuse to get rid of the scary dayglo pb sandwich crackers.

Say it ain't so! My favorite snack is peanut butter and swiss cheese. Not on a sandwich, but with the cheese rolled up and the p.b. on a spoon.

From what I have read so far, peanut butter in jars is safe.

I had some peanut butter yesterday, I had some today, and I will likely have some tomorrow. If I were to remove every food that is capable of harboring salmonella, lysteria, ecoli, and a multitude of other bad things I would be eating almost nothing. And speaking of peanut butter, is there still a Federal Standard for the amount of filth (insect parts, etc) allowed in peanut butter?

Joyce W., I think you were channeling the 43rd president in your comment. "Is our children learning?"

Speaking of peanut-butter-swirl ice cream ... I won't be eating it anytime soon, obviously, but I love it and have a hard time finding it. The the only brand I've been able to find locally is Green's, which I've only been able to find at Shoppers. Any other suggestions?

Does this ban also apply to organic peanut butter?

I think this is all a ruse concocted by parents with kids allergic to peanuts to give their kids a break from watching their friends eat peanut butter sandwiches and snacks in front of them in the cafeteria.

[ducking and running]

Buy a grinder and make your own. You can use any kind of nut. No one has to buy ready made peanut butter.
Of course if the contamination is from the field, not the processing all bets are off.

I'm sure that my standards for filth are much lower than the Fed Govt.

I am an employee of Kraft Foods and want to respond to your blog posting regarding peanut butter ingredients affected by this recall by sharing some information on our products.

Kraft is not recalling any products in connection with the recent salmonella outbreak involving peanut butter manufactured by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). Neither we nor our suppliers purchase peanut butter or paste from PCA for any of our products, including those sold in the U.S. or Canada under the Kraft, Nabisco and Planters brands.

Kraft's highest priority is the safety of our consumers, and we’re actively monitoring developments around the current recall of peanut butter. We are providing this information as suggested by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). For information about the peanut butter recall, your best source is the FDA website (

Consumers wishing to contact Kraft on this issue should visit or call 800-308-1841.

Sincerely yours,
Claire S.
Kraft Executive Representative

I love peanut butter!! The creamy natural kind that retains its natural oils and needs to be refrigerated. Giant brand and Smuckers have great products. I love to say Smuckers - it just sounds tasty.

I've been eating peanut butter the whole time too. And I haven't had any problems. Its been my breakfast lately, a little bit on a piece of double-fiber whole wheat toast.

If I can find the link to the story that says peanut butter in jars is safe, I will come back and post it.

Let me point out that I said our story says peanut butter in jars is safe. EL

The FDA list of recalled peanut products is at It is current as of noon today, 21 January.

Oops. Apparantly you cannot get to the page I previously posted with the period at the end. This one works: and click on "Search Combined List of Recalled Products" at the top right.

oh here we go again. This is just a ploy by the FDA to cause a scare so people will want to irradiate ALL fresh food!!!! Let's just NUKE everything we eat and eliminate everything that is GOOD about it!!! heck, We should just make cardboard cookies--that should be safe from salmonella!!!!!
Come on MEDIA, start looking into the details of these so-called poisonings.

LOL - Dahlink - had a mental hiccough there I think!

MD - or we could just grow our own, or at least buy from local small farms...

I've made peanut butter in a food processor with the steel chopping blade -- the results are pretty good, but the processing time can be fairly long (10-15 minutes).

Why is everything always a conspiracy theory? Something tells me the FDA could really care less if you put your peanut butter in the microwave oven. Or perhaps it's too late and they've already gotten to me.....

Salton used to make a nut grinder for making peanut or other butters. Had adjustable grinders to choose how smooth or gritty you wanted it. Took less that 10 minutes as I remember. Unfortunately it is not on their current web site. You should be able to find something equivalent at your local health food store. Or just buy their fresh ground peanut butter.

Thanks Kraft Foods for keeping my Planters Cocktail peanuts coming...

You should be able to find something equivalent at your local health food store. Or just buy their fresh ground peanut butter.

I started reading this post thinking “Well, Whole Foods has peanut grinders in store, that’s so much easier” but then you said homemade cayenne bacon PB, and I was hooked. So going to try this when I’m back with my food processor! :)

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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