News: More Food Scares And Recalls

If you thought the spate of food contamination scares had declined, you’d be wrong. A new string of recalls has appeared in the news. Some of them are fairly minor and limited. Others are pretty significant.

Skip the Skippy. Unilever, a multinational, multi-product corporation, is recalling 16.3 oz. size jars of their Reduced Fat peanut butter in both the creamy and super chunky varieties. The company says the peanut butter may be contaminated with Salmonella, which can cause serious illness or even death. The company has not said exactly how the food could have been contaminated. The jars were distributed to retail stores in Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. More detailed information, bar codes and sell-by dates of the affected jars can be found at the company website, If you have an affected jar, the company advises you to throw it away and call the company for a replacement coupon.

Nuts to nuts. DeFranco and Sons of Los Angeles has recalled bulk hazelnuts sold during the holiday season for possible contamination of E. coli bacteria. Seven people in three states have reported being sick from unshelled hazelnuts. They were sold under the brand names Sunripe and George Packing in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Mad Cow in Canada, eh. A single cow in Alberta has been found to have what is called mad cow disease. The animal was destroyed before any of its products could get into the food supply.

Sloppy Seafood. The Food and Drug Administration has sent warning letters to three East coast seafood processors. The FDA says the firms which make soup, canned crab and tuna steaks do not have adequate plans for dealing with botulism, Listeria or other forms of contamination. Inspectors found in some cases food safety practices were haphazard or incomplete.

None of this is good, particularly in light of Congressional Republicans pushing for severe budget cuts, including for FDA food safety inspections. We wonder how many of us will have to die before they change their mind. Or maybe that’s the plan. Until then, do most of your cooking and eating at home, be alert to the symptoms of food poisoning, use the best quality ingredients you can afford, make more things from scratch and hope for the best.