Work to rebuild public trust in peanuts begins

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food safety, Peanut corporation of america

The National Peanut Board (NPB) has announced a plan to regain public trust in peanuts as the ongoing recall due to possible salmonella contamination has severely damaged peanuts’ wholesome image.

NPB members are due to meet for a consumer education event in New York’s Grand Central Terminus on March 4 and 5, to give away peanut products from companies unaffected by the recall, meet consumers and answer their questions.

The move comes as the number of products affected has soared above 2600, making it one of the largest product recalls in history.

NPB farmers have also written an open letter, published in Wednesday’s USA Today, ​which said that the Peanut Corporation of America’s actions “have led to confusion about what is safe to eat”​ and said: “We don’t want anyone to ever worry about the safety of peanuts or any food product ever again.”

Another two years

Meanwhile, the FDA said on Wednesday that the salmonella outbreak linked to peanut products could continue for another two years, due to their long shelf life.

The FDA’s Stephen Sundlof said: “We’re really concerned. This is not over yet.”

The food safety director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest Caroline Smith DeWaal has also expressed concern that the outbreak will continue. She said: “Given the long shelf life of these peanut products, this outbreak may sicken and kill many more if the Food and Drug Administration does not act to effectively remove contaminated products from stores and facilities that may have them.”

Further action

Spokesman for the National Peanut Board Mark Dvorak told FoodNavigator-USA.com that the NPB is planning further consumer awareness campaigns to coincide with marathons in Washington DC and Atlanta, but said the organization could not comment on the FDA statement.

Texas peanut farmer and NPB chairman Roger Neitsch said: “We may be peanut farmers, but we also are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters — and consumers. So we understand and share the concerns being experienced these days by families across America.”

The salmonella outbreak caused by tainted peanut products from a Peanut Corporation of America plant has sickened at least 666 people across 45 states, and has been linked to nine deaths.

The National Peanut Board is a research and promotion board funded by US peanut growers.

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