Peanut-butter product recall grows, has little effect on shoppers

  • Article by: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 18, 2009 - 11:40 PM

So far, the recall appears to be having little effect on local purchases or consumption.

Several more products have been added to the list of peanut-butter products recalled because of a potential link to a salmonella outbreak.

But so far, the recall appears to be having little effect on local purchases or consumption.

The products added Sunday include snack crackers made under the Little Debbie brand, candies made by the South Bend Chocolate Co. in Indiana and several brands of cookies made by Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products of suburban Chicago and sold through Wal-Mart stores. They came one day after the government advised consumers to avoid eating foods with peanut butter until health officials learn more about the contamination.

"It's my understanding that peanut butter itself is safe," said Derrick Bergk, who was shopping at the Cub Foods store at 60th Street and Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis on Sunday. And he wouldn't hesitate to eat it, he said. "Had it this morning."

The store has pulled two products, Keebler and Little Debbie snack crackers, said Mona Veleber, operations manager. But there are so many other peanut-butter snacks available that customers are hardly being deprived of that product category. "They would not have to go without a peanut-butter snack if they wanted one," she said.

The majority of consumers don't seem concerned, she added. "I had one call today from someone who had bought peanut butter and wanted to know if it was part of the recall. It was our Cub brand, so I said no, it wasn't, but if it would make her feel better, she could bring it back."

A few blocks away, at SuperAmerica, two types of Keebler's crackers are no longer sold, but similar snacks are still available. "It's only two products," said assistant manager Jay Hanson. "Corporate dealt with it and told us what to take off the shelf."

Officials are focusing on peanut paste, as well as peanut butter, produced at a Blakely, Ga., facility owned by Peanut Corp. of America. Its peanut butter is not sold directly to consumers but distributed to institutions and food companies. But the paste is an ingredient in cookies, cakes and other products. At least six deaths, two in Minnesota, are blamed on the outbreak.

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