Q: Have you heard or read anything about the safety of peanut butter products yet? PB crackers were an on-the-go staple for us, but I haven't bought them again since the contamination was so widespread and companies were vague with lot numbers. I haven't found anything online, so I thought maybe you'd have more info. Thanks!
A: I’m not finding a resounding “Yes” answer anywhere to this question. Five days ago, I e-mailed one of the companies that had recalled its products that contained peanut butter, but my e-mail hasn’t been answered yet.
The FDA’s peanut butter recall page says it has information current as of April 29, 2009, but there is no “go ahead” mentioned anywhere on the page. The CDC doesn’t have any statement about it being safe to resume eating the recalled peanut butter products, either. I also checked the American Peanut Council website for a “go ahead” type message and found nothing.
Not all peanut butter was unsafe. The recalls were for products that were made with peanut butter or peanut butter paste that was manufactured by Peanut Corp. of America. The company is now shut down and has filed for bankruptcy. Jarred peanut butter sold on grocery store shelves was not recalled, and not all peanut butter crackers were recalled either.
If you’re looking to put the peanut butter crackers back in your family’s diet, I can’t promise you that they are going to be safe because you never know (how’s that for a technical answer – “you never know”). You might want to choose crackers that were never recalled. Crackers made by Lance were never a part of the recall. Late July’s organic peanut butter crackers weren’t in the recall, either. The American Peanut Council has a list of manufacturers whose products with peanut butter in them were not recalled.
As far as choosing the peanut butter crackers or other peanut butter products that had been recalled as they re-emerge on the shelves, you’re going to have to decide whether to trust that the companies found new, safe sources for their peanut butter and peanut butter paste.
Readers, have I missed anything in the news about this? If you've seen anything pointing to a more definitive answer, please let us know in the comments.