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What do you need to do about the peanut recall?

At first it didn’t seem too worrisome.

Products from the Peanut Corp. of America, a firm that has allegedly shopped products containing salmonella, were being recalled. News reports said the company only sold peanuts and peanut products to institutions such as nursing homes and hospitals.

Peanut Look feature-photo21_02-1 Now, however, the recall has been expanded. Hundreds of products now have been recalled.

I don’t eat many processed foods. I buy fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts from a local food coop. I’m slightly allergic to peanuts, so when I buy mixed nuts, I avoid those containing peanuts.

However, when I wrote my last post on the importance of being informed about recalls, I took a look at the peanut recall list. Today, I read through the list of brand names and stores affected.

I found one item I eat occasionally when I travel: Clif bars. I occasionally buy items at Fred Meyer and Publix, so I looked through the list of recalls from these stores.

What should you do as a consumer about the peanut recall?

You’ve probably already thrown out peanut butter cookies and crackers. However, there may be other items that you haven’t recognized as being a problem.

I suggest going through your cupboards and refrigerator, getting out any of the following items, and putting them on the counter:

  • Cookies
  • Crackers
  • Donuts
  • Brownies
  • Candy
  • Ice cream
  • Cakes
  • Pies
  • Cereal
  • Energy, breakfast, diet, and nutrition bars
  • Mixes for cookies, cakes, and pancakes and any other kind of mix
  • Nuts
  • Trail mix
  • Chips
  • Snacks and snack mixes
  • Pet food
  • Pre-packaged meals
  • Meal kits
  • Noodles
  • Tofu
  • Dressings
  • Packaged fruits or vegetables, such as celery or apple, snacks containing with peanut butter
  • Toppings

Then go to www.Recalls.gov, click "Search for Recalls," click on "FDA," type in “peanut,” and then click on “Search for Peanut Containing Products.”

Check your products against the FDA’s list. It’s divided into different types of products. You can also search by brand name (for example: Austin Quality Foods or Keebler), UPC Code (for example: 54807-59114), product description (for example: crackers with peanut butter), or any combination of brand name, description, and UPC code.

Peanut Scientist PB-scientist-icon It’s important to make this check because it may not be apparent that food items, such as snacks, contain recalled peanut products. Also, you won't find the name Peanut Corp. of America on the label of products that have been recalled because the firm supplied peanut paste and peanut butter to other companies that turned the peanuts into products.

Many manufacturers recommend that you destroy any recalled item you find immediately and contact the store where you purchased the item or the manufacturer for a refund. However, others want you to submit the UPC number and stamped date, lot number, packaging, jar lid, receipt, or other item.

Use caution if you're handling a recalled product. Wear disposable gloves or put the item in a plastic bag. Wash your hands immediately and thoroughly after touching the product, U.S Food and Drug Administration officials recommend.

The Daily Green.com has been trying to keep up with the recalls, offering refund information for recalls.

You can also check the manufacturer's Web site for refund information.

The federal government is improving its outreach to consumers on recalls. The database described above, which allows you to sort on specific items, is an improvement.

Federal agencies also are using social networking to inform consumers about recalled products in order to prevent illnesses and death.

See the article “Social Media Saves Lives: Salmonella Outbreak Forces HHS, FDA, CDC to Get Social” for details.

Copyright 2009, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

Comments

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Mona Robison

Thanks for the tip, I checked my Kashi peanut butter bars and they have a recall, but a different date than the ones I have. Glad you encouraged us to check!

Rita

Hi Mona,

I'm glad you checked your cupboard. It's important to find out if you have any of the salmonella-contaminated peanut products.

The U.S. food and Drug Administration recalls are much easier to figure out now that you can search a database on products, types of products, and UPC numbers.

Rita

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