Recall of peanut butter and peanut-based products

Last updated:
21 November 2012
Food alert for action
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is warning consumers not to eat certain peanut butter and peanut-based products which have been imported from the US because of possible contamination with salmonella. Salmonella is a bacterium that causes food poisoning. The Agency has issued a Food Alert for Action.

An outbreak of a strain of salmonella called Salmonella Bredeney in the US has been linked to peanut butter produced by a company called Sunland Inc. As a result, the manufacturer is recalling a wide range of peanut butter and peanut-based products. Other products containing nuts and seeds are also being recalled.

An initial recall of products in the US in September did not affect the UK as the products involved were not distributed in Europe. However, because the product recall has widened, US authorities have now alerted the European Commission to possible distribution of affected products in a number of member states, including the UK.

It is not thought that these products are on sale in the major supermarkets in the UK, but they may have been bought on the internet or from specialist shops that import American food products. The Food Standards Agency has requested distribution information from the US authorities. In the meantime, the Agency has asked local authorities to check businesses in their areas that may have imported or sold the affected products and to remove any remaining products from sale.

Liz McNulty, from the FSA’s incidents team, added: 'Investigations are ongoing, but as we get more information from the US and local authorities in the UK we will be able to narrow down the list products to just those we know have been sold in the UK. If consumers have a product made by Sunland Inc they should check the batch code against the list on US FDA site provided at the link top right. If the product is on the list it should not be eaten and returned to where it was bought.'

The Health Protection Agency is currently not aware of any cases of illness in the UK that may be associated with the outbreak. A full list of products recalled in the USA to date can be found at the link to the FDA site.

About product withdrawals and recalls

If there is a problem with a food product that means it should not be sold, then it might be 'withdrawn' (taken off the shelves) or 'recalled' (when customers are asked to return the product). The Food Standards Agency issues Product Withdrawal Information Notices and Product Recall Information Notices to let consumers and local authorities know about problems associated with food. In some cases, a ‘Food Alert for Action’ is issued. This provides local authorities with details of specific action to be taken on behalf of consumers.

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