How Does Salmonella Get Into Peanut Butter? Bird Feces.

Here’s something you probably don’t want to know, but we’re going to tell you anyway. Scientific American interviewed Michael Doyle, director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia to find out how salmonella got into peanut butter in the first place. His theory? Bird Feces.

How does salmonella get into peanut butter?

Feces from some animal is a strong possibility. A leak in the roof, for example, caused one of the early outbreaks. How salmonella got into the water that was on the roof, no one knows for sure. Maybe birds, for instance, which accumulate around peanut butter processing plants.

The roasting of peanuts is the only step that will kill the salmonella. If contamination occurs after the roasting process, the game is over and salmonella is going to survive. Studies have shown that salmonella can survive for many months in peanut butter once it’s present. Fatty foods are also more protective of salmonella, so when it gets into the acid of the stomach — which is our first line of defense — it may not get destroyed. Peanut butter, being a highly fatty food, could survive better.

Peanut Problems In A Nutshell [CR]
How does salmonella get into peanut butter? And can you kill it once it’s there? [Scientific American]