I am beginning to wonder if or when this is all going to end. The fear of Salmonella from Peanut Butter related products is at an all time high, and causing a severe drop in sales.
This is reportedly one of the “largest food-contamination” scares in the history of the country. With over one thousand products recalled, people are less and less willing to take risks on products containing peanuts or peanut butter.
And the only way to learn what products have been recalled is to go digging through the FDA’s list recalled products.
This is an incredibly trying time for the industry, as the economy is already bad enough. The salmonella scares aren’t helping anything get better.
Just look at the effects that this is having across the nation.
Peanut butter makers not affected by the deadly salmonella outbreak linked to a Georgia peanut plant are trying to get consumers to keep buying peanut butter. It could be an uphill battle.
Companies such as ConAgra Foods Inc. and J.M. Smucker Co. have started running ads and offering coupons, trying to lure peanut butter customers as sales have plunged at least 20 percent since the salmonella outbreak.
Eight people have died and nearly 600 have been sickened in the outbreak. The original peanut butter recall launched weeks ago has expanded to include more than 1,000 products.
On ConAgra’s Web site, a letter assures customers that the company’s peanut butter is safe.
“ConAgra Foods, the maker of Peter Pan Peanut Butter, has confirmed that none of the ingredients used to make Peter Pan Peanut Butter come from Peanut Corporation of America, the company linked to the government’s current salmonella investigation,” the letter says. “We are extremely confident in the safety protocols.”
J.M. Smucker, maker of Jif peanut butter, had a similar message for customers.
“Our Smucker’s peanut butter brand and peanut butter products are safe for consumption. The J.M. Smucker Company does not purchase peanuts or any ingredients from Peanut Corporation of America,” its Web site says. (CNN)
A second peanut processing plant owned by the company at the heart of a nationwide outbreak of salmonella illness has been shut down after the bacteria were discovered in peanut products there.
Peanut Corporation of America shuttered its Plainview, Texas plant last night at the request of state health officials, said Doug McBride, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. The action came after laboratory results from samples taken on Feb. 4 of roasted peanuts, peanut meal and granulated peanuts were positive for salmonella.
Additional analysis is needed to confirm the contamination and determine if it is the same type of salmonella linked to the current outbreak, McBride said.
The bacteria were discovered before the affected granulated peanuts and peanut meal had left the Texas plant but after contaminated roasted peanuts had been shipped out of state, McBride said. Company officials notified the distributor last night and recalled the roasted peanuts, he said. (Washington Post)
Many consumers, apparently disregarding the fine print of the salmonella outbreak and food recall caused by a Georgia peanut plant, are swearing off all brands of peanut butter, driving down sales by nearly 25 percent.
The drop-off is so striking that brands like Jif are taking the unusual step of buying ads to tell shoppers that their products are not affected, and giving them a coupon to make sure they do not learn to live without a staple that almost every child loves — and more than a few of their parents, too.
Given the steady stream of headlines since mid-January about one of the largest food contamination scares in the nation’s history, the companies whose products are not being recalled could have a difficult time winning over people like Guadalupe Vasquez.
On Friday, she and her three young children kept walking past shelves of peanut butter at a grocery store in Bellaire, Tex. “The news shows say don’t buy it and I won’t buy it,” said Ms. Vasquez, adding that she normally buys a jar each week for her family. “I’m very fearful of salmonella.” (New York Times)
All of this, with no end in sight. I hope some resolution comes soon.