While we were busy with the pageant of the new administration, we are still cleaning up the messes from past administrations (not just Bush although Bush was the examplar of incompetence). Past messes like a broken food safety system. The latest example, of course, is the peanut butter and peanut paste salmonella debacle (see here, here, here), which just keeps getting worse. Bulk supplied institutional peanut butter containers were the first to be implicated and the connection was first made from nursing homes that used these. Supermarket peanut butter sold to consumers wasn’t implicated. But the Georgia plant that made the peanut butter also made peanut paste that was used as an ingredient in baked goods and many other products sold to consumers. About a third of the cases had no history of eating peanut butter. This was now looking like an ingredient outbreak as well. Now we have confirmation:
The Food and Drug Administration said Monday that salmonella was found in a package of peanut butter sandwich crackers made by Kellogg.
Kellogg said Monday that a previously recalled peanut butter-sandwich cracker tested positive for salmonella as a rapidly growing national recall widened to include more companies’ peanut snacks because of potential contamination.
Kellogg’s Austin Quality Foods Toasty Crackers with Peanut Butter is the first product sold to consumers that’s known to have tested positive for the salmonella strain initially linked only to peanut butter sold to institutions, such as nursing homes. (USAToday)
Kellogg’s is not the only one:
The new recalls, including one from General Mills (GIS) for Lärabar and JamFrakas snack bars, means that about a dozen companies have pulled products, including cookies, crackers and ice cream. Products were sold in stores such as Wal-Mart and Food Lion.
Wegmans also recalled some ice cream containing peanut butter.
Kroger said Monday that it is recalling Private Selection Peanut Butter Passion Ice Cream sold in select stores because the peanut butter in the ice cream was supplied by Peanut Corporation of America and may be contaminated with Salmonella. Stores under the following names are included in this recall: City Market, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, QFC and Smith’s.
It’s not just the US, either. Canada is issuing a health hazard alert for a list of products, and the ingredients from the Peanut Corporation of America plant have gone into products sold in Korea and Haiti. Probably other countries will be added to the list.
FDA is now announcing a voluntary recall of Meijer’s products. The FDA is saying that the investigation is “very active and dynamic,” but not everyone thinks it has gone with all deliberate speed. The head of food safety for Costco is quoted as saying it was taking a long time to sort things out. The FDA complains it does not have authority to order mandatory recalls. I don’t know the law or their powers, but if it is true, it is a glaring hole in the food safety net.
So much to fix. So little time.