Hold it right there, peanut butter junkie! You may want to rethink that PB&J sandwich today. There's been a Skippy peanut butter recall. Announced on Friday, the recall involves any Skippy peanut butter jars labeled "reduced fat" (both "creamy" and "super chunk"). The reason you shouldn't dip your knife in either product: Possible Salmonella contamination. Mmmmm ... creamy or SUPER CHUNK bacteria!!!
If you bought your reduced-fat Skippy at a retail outlet in 16 states, including Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, there's a big fat chance your PB is tainted.
The official press release from the Skippy peeps, who are known for "fueling the fun," enlightens us:
Salmonella [is] an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.
YUMMY! But why the hell is there salmonella in your Skippy? Oh, well, Unilever (Skippy's manufacturer) provides no info on that. They just go on to explain that the organisms were detected during a routine investigation of the products. Gross.
But, thankfully, ABC News had a doc come on and explain that the salmonella-affected peanuts in the Skippy were probably infected in the soil, probably thanks to the disgusting fertilizer used on them during the growing process. (Who knows if they're also GMO, as in genetically modified peanuts? But that's a whole other disgusting prospect.)
Here's something else you should probably know: Studies have shown that salmonella can survive for many months in peanut butter once it's present. Fattening foods are also more protective of salmonella, so when it gets into the acid of the stomach -- which is our first line of defense -- it may not get destroyed. Loooovely.
And this is why I only shop at Whole Foods and buy mostly organic and whole/raw foods. A friend of mine is a raw vegetarian, and she makes her own peanut butter. She says it's incredibly easy, and I believe it. Maybe my boyfriend and I will start doing that. Because, I'm sorry, but how can you be surprised when this stuff happens?
After seeing Food, Inc., I don't trust the government to make sure our food is safe. I certainly don't trust big huge food processing companies, like Unilever. (I appreciate that they let us know when their food is funky, like in this case, but clearly, it would be best if it never happened in the first place!)
Yes, I realize that organic foods aren't perfect either. They can still get contaminated. BUT, organic standards have many extra food safety standards for certified growers to comply with. Such as audit trails, no fresh manure use on crops (hello, salmonella risk factor much?), strict composting parameters and requirements for regularly testing the farm’s water supplies, etc.
Did you know there are approximately 142,000 reported cases of salmonella infections each year? And given how totally screwed up our food supply is, I have a feeling that there are a lot more cases than than reported. Children are nearly dying. Every other week it seems we hear that eggs are being recalled, alfalfa sprouts, meat, chile peppers, etc., etc. Something MUST be done, because this is just plain sick.
In the meantime, maybe it would pay to steer clear of mass-produced processed peanut butter, huh?
Does this latest salmonella recall scare you?
Image via The Consumerist/Flickr