So, You Think That Peanut Butter is Safe?
- Take it from the health inspector, be concerned!
The 2022 Jif Peanut Butter Outbreak and what it means to 2023
Perhaps like you, peanut butter has been a mainstay throughout most of my life: the base of inexpensive childhood jellied sandwiches and as a necessary dietary component of my adult weight training program. Good taste, fiber, easy to eat, basic make-up protein. My mother was an early adopter of Jif, and although I would later in life become a peanut butter snob, mostly in the hopes that floor sweepings and insect parts do not make it into my organic stir-required fancy brands, I have fond memories of it and its competitors, Skippy, and Peter Pan. However, the US FDA has declared Jif responsible for a multi-state salmonella outbreak (more on that below) and has demanded, by the end of February 2023, proof that their designated lots assigned for recall were adequately selected and based on scientific methods. The bottom line: is the contaminated product still on your pantry shelves and how would you know if it is?
Then tragedy struck.
But first, you should know that through my peanut butter taste cultivation, I became a broadly trained career public health advocate working in official capacity at local, state, and federal levels, including roles as SME (subject matter expert), academician/instructor at three universities, and researcher and writer. In my first weeks as a health inspector just out of undergrad studies, I was trusted to cull the food recalls (then received on fax paper) and distribute them to the senior inspectors to act.
I Bought it!
11.25.2022. At the register, the Jif totally non-organic peanut butter is on sale at Walgreens, and I am letting down my guard hoping that the multi-state salmonella outbreak that I vaguely remember involved Skippy. And Walgreens should have this, right? Supply chains have stymied my supplies of the good stuff, and I have been pre-occupied by absorbing the newest literature on the existential COVID-19 Pandemic. I am grateful to acquire the tub of PB and I am even looking forward to the unnecessary salt and sugar additions. But I have a gnawing thought that I made a mistake walking home. Before sorting my haul, I am at the computer, Jif container in hand, checking lot numbers.