Peanut Butter Sales Down 25% Over Salmonella Fears

Fears of salmonella have drive down sales of peanut butter 25%, far beyond the actual amount of peanut butter affected by the recall. Guess few people actually read the recall notices to see which products and batch numbers are pulled, they just see Peanuts + Butter = Death. [NYT] (Photo: amyadoyzie)

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  1. GinaLouise says:

    But the recall expanded quickly — from a few items at first, to well over a hundred now. How can we be sure that the peanut products that are safe now aren’t going to be recalled tomorrow? I’d rather just avoid the stuff for now. Of course, I actively dislike peanut butter, so your mileage may vary. I know if Bacon + Me = Death I’d have a hell of a time giving it up.

    • theblackdog says:

      @GinaLouise: You hit the nail on the head, I’ve been shocked by how many new products hit the list within a week. Plus, I have not seen any information on when these products are safe to consume again, so myself (and likely many other consumers) are just going to avoid any peanuts or peanut butter, period.

    • Jim Topoleski says:

      @GinaLouise: exactly. I found out this weekend that bars I ate in DECEMBER where now recalled. There is no way Im going to eat anything with peanut butter in it till May the soonest

      Which sucks because I LOVE peanut butter.

    • rtmccormick says:

      @GinaLouise:
      The way you can know is that only one company is involved; Peanut Corp. They only make peanut butter for cheap crackers and stuff like that. If you read on the packages of what you’re looking to buy, you’ll see that a lot of places actually get their own peanuts and make the butter out of them (Nature Valley for instance). Peanut Corp did NOT make the kind of peanut butter you buy in a jar for sandwiches, so all of that is safe.

      • Jim Topoleski says:

        @rtmccormick: I wouldnt say just cheap crackers. The bars I had recalled where expensive protein meal replacement bars.

        • Warll says:

          @Jim Topoleski: That cost pennies to make.

        • James Borders says:

          @Jim Topoleski: exactly. I was eating MOJO Bars made by Clif, which are aprox. $1.50 a piece, and they were recalled when I had one in my pocket, and several in my kitchen. Now they released which expiration dates were affected, but still, I don’t feel 100% comfortable purchasing them. I might also add that the Peanut Butter in these bars is labeled Organic. Which just frustrates me more, because you think you’re putting something more natural in your body, but nope… salmonella!

          • ZekeSulastin says:

            @James Borders: … salmonella is perfectly natural. It’s a bacterium, just like staphylococcus, bacillus anthracis, and so on and so forth. Same with viruses, fungi, etc. – if the disease has not been experimented on/had its D/RNA replaced/been weaponized/etc., it’s natural.

            I don’t know how people got it in their head that ORGANIC! and ALL NATURAL! were inherently safer than the usual stuff – a processing-chain infection like this one can happen to anything packaged, just like contamination of any sort can happen anywhere.

    • kev313 says:

      @GinaLouise: As a grocery buyer for a large-scale retail chain, I can safely say that no one in my office is buying peanut butter lately. Not only has the scope of the recall expanded quickly and dramatically, but multiple suppliers have claimed initially that their product was safe and had to recant later…which I personally find scarier than simply finding more as time goes by.

  2. metsarethe... says:

    I neevr thought I’d see a run on anything other than a bank, who knew?

  3. MyPetFly says:

    Well crap, we’ve been eating more peanut butter lately to save money. I guess the salmonella diet plan will now take effect.

  4. your new nemesis says:

    My good jar of skippy hasn’t let me down yet. Maybe I haven’t reached the hidden prize that is a visit to the hospital and potential death. Hopefully they missed my jar.

    On the serious side, people are quick to panic. look how the tomato scare pushed people from eating them, and restaurants wouldn’t serve them. Even olive garden had signs up,and it turns out it wasn’t even caused by tomato’s. i forget what it was, was it salmonella?

    • Anonymous says:

      @skizsrodt: I believe it was also salmonella, traced back to the chili peppers in the salsa (not the tomatoes as originally thought). but, yeah, think about how many tons of tomatoes were wasted because we thought they were infected!

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @skizsrodt: Yeah, it was salmonella. I remember them blaming jalapenos after that but I can’t remember if they ever proved it.

  5. LJKelley says:

    I just bought Peanut Butter today from Wegmans. The Wegman site says they have verified with their supplier and actually visit the factories of their own brands. So I should be fine…

    If I don’t post again… it was the Peanut Butter!

  6. MyPetFly says:

    So what are the symptoms of salmonella poiso………………………………………………………………

  7. ceilingFANBOY says:

    Sales are only down because everyone is so confident that Obama is going to end the recession and people don’t need to buy peanut butter and Spam anymore…oh, wait, Spam sales are still up? Nevermind.

  8. ShadowFalls says:

    @rtmccormick:

    Yes, Lance which makes their own peanut butter crackers released information that their products are safe because they make their own peanut butter.

    • Tmoney02 says:

      @ShadowFalls: yep was tempted to say something about this. Lance crackers makes their own peanut butter in house and are completely safe. They are also the brand my Costco sells.

  9. HogwartsAlum says:

    I bought a jar of Jif recently. If it appears on the list, don’t tell me. I need to check into the hospital just to get a vacation.

  10. ajlei says:

    I can’t be held responsible, I never eat peanut butter in the first place. But yeah, “peanut butter” has become a synonym for “haha eat and die” (sort of) so.. yeah, I’m not gonna go out of my way to eat it.

  11. David A Marcillo says:

    Quick! Sell all stock in Peanut Butter before it crashes even further!

  12. cmdrsass says:

    I wouldn’t call it “fear”. I would say it’s eminently sensible to avoid related products when it takes so long for the manufacturers to come clean. The manufacturers care more about their bottom line than your family’s health, so it’s best not to take chances.

    • oneandone says:

      @cmdrsass: Exactly. And when you combine that with a lack of transparent labeling requirements (source of ingredients, to start) I think people are completely reasonable to avoid suspect products.

  13. terrytaillard says:

    PBA is not exactly a big name brand, but what do we get when we buy generic or private-label products? Since the government does not seem to be inspecting food plants it appears to all be a crap shoot.

  14. Wirehead says:

    Actually, all of this talk of peanut butter is making me crave it even more.

  15. MikeGrenade says:

    People are stupid.

  16. the lesser of two weevils says:

    This has to suck for the peanut butter manufacturers because that is one of those products that always sees increases in profits during recession/depressions. Campbell’s Soup must be smiling right now.

  17. Aristeia says:

    Oddly enough, i hadn’t had peanut butter in aaages before the outbreak of salmonella. In the past month though, i’ve taken to eating it again. I loooooves peanut butter. And so long as they say the actual jars of peanut butter are safe, ima keep buying ‘em!

    what can i say? i’m just not that worried.

    • Kavatar says:

      @Aristeia: Me too. I’ve been eating PB&J sandwiches way more than I used to, plus I’ve been buying peanuts to snack on when I rarely did before. Thank you salmonella, you have led me to rediscover the joys of peanuts!

  18. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Damnit, I own stock in Smucker’s. Guess this will teach be to be all smug like I was when Peter Pan got contaminated.

  19. Yoko Broke Up The Beatles says:

    Peanut butter sales down because of the recall?! In other news, water is wet and the sky is blue.

  20. ZukeZuke says:

    They keep adding products to the list, so what do you expect?

    I had to throw out an unopened box of Zone Bars from Costco 2 weeks ago. Went to Costco this week to get an untainted box, and they stopped carrying them! This, after having them for the better part of the last 5 months. They also stopped carrying the peanut butter Nature’s Valley bars that I love too… dammit!

  21. Jimmy Billingsley says:

    If Skippy Super Chunky gets added to the list somehow, I’d rather get salmonella than give up mah Skippy!

  22. The_IT_Crone says:

    It’s like the pet food recall- the list grows every day so you can’t be sure. I don’t want to find out the peanut butter that “wasn’t on the list” yesterday to kill me today. I risked a Butterfinger the other day and felt like I was taking my life into my hands.

    But then again, I was one of the people hospitalized after LAST YEAR’s salmonella outbreak. So, I have the damn right to be paranoid.

  23. shepd says:

    What‽

    Consumers won’t buy peanut butter products because there’s a rogue major peanut factory that has covered up their poison peanut butter‽ They’re worried that maybe there’s more products involved than what that company says‽ They don’t trust them to tell the truth‽

    Don’t say!

  24. ponycyndi says:

    Fear and Hysteria??? I’ve come to expect so much better from you, Consumerist.

    I know EXACTLY what has been recalled because I have been visiting fda.gov on a regular basis.

    The reason I have stopped buying peanut butter is because they keep updating the list, and there is no way to know if products that I buy today won’t be on the list tomorrow. Just like I don’t eat chicken raw, I don’t eat peanut butter raw. I call that wise consumerism.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Considering how much the recall has expanded and that no one can trust the FDA nor the food supply, people have every reason to not want peanut butter right now. Hysteria? Prudence you mean.

  26. LuluStarPony says:

    Is that picture of Chinese peanut butter? What are you trying to say Consumerist? Eh?

  27. howman says:

    On the upside, if you are looking for feeder food for your wildlife this spring, prices will be down. Less p0enut butter orders means more peanuts for other things… Might be a good time to start up a ‘Furry Friend Feeder Company’ and pack up nuts in really cool bags to get iPod’ed out teens back to nature…

  28. jimmy37 says:

    Who cares? I make my own peanut butter with dry-roasted peanuts and a food processor. It only costs me $2.00 a pound, with no added trans-fats, salt or sugar.

  29. Yossarian says:

    Does this mean that the price of Jif will come down? Might be a buying opportunity.

  30. TVarmy says:

    At first, they acted like it was just the cheapest convenience foods and institutional peanut butter that was tainted, but they keep adding to the list and some big names are showing up. Since I can’t check for salmonella myself, I’m just avoiding it. I have harmfully low cholesterol, but I’m getting it from other sources just to be safe. Ironically, that includes eggs, but at least I can cook them.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Mmm, I love peanut butter, you can’t keep me away from the stuff. Most of my childhood diet consisted of PB sandwiches.

    I will admit that I checked the brands I frequently buy, and they were deemed safe and still are. So I have no qualms about whipping up my sandwich or eating some crackers.

  32. jc364 says:

    I see a loss of confidence in the industry. People are scared to buy from a company that covers up information and causes people to die.

  33. Maulleigh says:

    I eat peanut butter on a daily basis. I went to the store yesterday and put two jars of Keyfood creamy into my basket and didn’t think twice about it.

  34. SunnyLea says:

    So glad this has the “hysteria” label. I would call it “sensible” but, you know, to each his own.

    I’ll wait it out. I mean, we already know we are dealing with lying liars here, right?

  35. orlo says:

    Maybe people are actually pissed about the shrink-rayed jars. And that the price has increased 50%.