Staff at nonprofit food pantries are scrambling to pull a growing number of Jif peanut butter products off their shelves in the wake of a salmonella outbreak traced to a manufacturing plant in Kentucky and recall of the product.
Nearly 100 jars of Jif have been removed from the shelves and warehouse at the Interfaith Food Pantry Network (IFPN) in Parsippany, N.J., which provides more than 1 million pounds of food annually to clients, after J.M. Smucker Co., Jif’s parent company, issued a voluntary recall last week.
IFPN Executive Director Carolyn Lake said the scrutiny for the recalled lot numbers will continue as more donations come in and are inventoried in the warehouse. The food pantry also has alerted all its clients about the recall and additional recalls of products that contain Jif, as its nutritional director, the organization’s food safety expert, is advised by the Food and Drug Administration of the actions, Lake said.
“Peanut butter is an energy rich food and is one of our staples but we get brands other than Jif,” Lake said. The recall, therefore, doesn’t mean the shelves are bare of peanut butter options, she said.
Not every food bank is impacted. At the Food Bank of Iowa — which stocks the shelves of 700 daycare centers, shelters, halfway houses and other entities in 55 counties — the peanut butter supply was deemed to be safe because it was a generic brand supplied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, explained Food Bank spokeswoman Annette M. Hacker.
The Jif peanut butter recall has broadened during the past week to now involve nearly 70 products. The domino effect is due to other food companies that use Jif in the creation of their own chocolates, vegetable snacks and other products.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local officials, are probing a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Senftenberg infections traced to certain Jif peanut butter products produced at Smucker’s facility in Lexington, Ky. Smucker’s voluntarily recalled peanut butter products that have the lot code numbers between 1274425 and 2140425, indicating they were manufactured in Lexington
The first illness linked to ingestion of Jif occurred on Feb. 17, and 14 people in 12 states have so far gotten sick from salmonella, according to the CDC.
Other companies that have recalled products containing Jif include Fudgeamentals, Del Monte, Coblentz Chocolate Company, Garden Cut, TAHER, Inc., Country Fresh, Albertson’s, Mary’s Harvest Fresh Foods Inc., Cargill and Wawa. The full list of products and brand names can be viewed at https://www.fda.gov/food/.
Smucker’s acknowledged the outbreak on its website, which includes a recall contact form. “We take very seriously the role Jif products play for your family and are working to provide you, our valued consumer, accurate and up-to-date information on an ongoing basis,” according to the message posted on the website.