USDA figures show that consumers bought near-record quantities of peanuts over the past year, despite a salmonella outbreak blamed for nine deaths and more than 700 illnesses.
In January this year, salmonella was discovered in peanut products from the Peanut Corporation of America. It soon emerged that those products had made their way into thousands of foods nationwide leading to a recall that involved hundreds of companies – and the peanut industry braced itself for plummeting demand.
However, although sales of peanuts for processed snack products was down during the year ended July 31, the quantity of peanuts used to make peanut butter broke all records, at 1.1bn pounds. Peanut production overall was the third-highest in history with more than 2bn pounds of nuts being processed, just a fraction behind the biggest ever crop produced in 2005.