Peanut butter is once again in the news causing food poisoning from salmonella in 42 states. Unlike the past recalls of retail brands (such as the infamous Peter Pan scare), however, this current outbreak is limited to institutional sales such as to schools and universities, hospitals, nursing homes, and restaurants.
According to multiple news sources, King Nut based in the midwest discovered salmonella in an open peanut butter container in Minnesota. Testing of that strain of salmonella has been found to be a genetic genetic match to the strain that has been making people sick coast to coast. What’s a bit confusing is that King Nut does not distribute nationwide so officials are investigating theories of cross-contamination. That said, due to public safety concerns, King Nut began a voluntary recall of its product last Saturday.
This is a very different out break than the Peter Pan outbreak from 2 years ago because this is not related to peanut butter we buy at our local store. However, we should be very careful about eating items with peanut butter at any commercial venue until this is sorted out. During outbreaks like this restaurants typically switch to alternative brands or avoid the food altogether. Be sure you ask about what brand is being used before venturing into peanut butter land if someone in your family expresses interest in a PB&J sandwich at your favorite restaurant or diner for a while, or while visiting relatives in the hospital. We’re a planet rich with many food choices. This is a great time to explore those choices and be peanut butter free for a while – or until the outbreak is over!