Why I’m Still Eating Peanut Butter

Monday, Jan 26, 2009 2:25pm

peanut butter.jpg

Give us peanut butter or give us death.

That would be funny if it weren’t true. According to the latest news on CNN, salmonella-laced peanut butter products have killed six people, and 486 have gotten sick.

Despite the scary stats, I’m still eating it daily from the jar. (All snacks have been tossed.) Plus, I’m feeding peanut butter to my kids. I swear I’m not a homicidal mom trying to poison my family. Actually, I’m worse. I’m a helicopter mom in the suburbs going to great lengths to secure clean peanut butter.

We’re addicts, and we need peanut butter that won’t make us sick or kill us dead. Here’s how I’ve been getting my hands on it:

I go to Whole Foods on Bloomfield Avenue and pester the staff. I figured Whole Foods had smaller-named, organic brands that would never harm us or make us fat. But then, over the weekend, even their products such as Whole Body nutrition bars, Luna bars and some cereal bars got recalled.

I was particularly neurotic this morning when I inquired.

Me: “Is your peanut butter still safe?”
Poor young woman at the customer service counter: “None of our peanut butter was recalled. None of the stuff in a jar. It’s the same as I told you last week.”

Me: “But the other peanut butter products will make us barf or die, right?”
PYW: “Just the granola, nutrition and cereal bars this week. The ones with the vitamin stuff in them. The Larabars and the Luna bars. A bunch of the bars were recalled.”

Me: “If I grind my own peanut butter there at your machines, will I be safe?”
PYW: “Hold on.”

I waited a long time–122 seconds total.

PYW: “Absolutely. The stuff you grind is safe. We guarantee it.”

I wasn’t convinced this morning like I was last week–I mean, even Little Debbie’s have been pulled from shelves–so I decided to buy almond butter. Almond butter is not affected. But a brand called Maranatha cost me $19.99. It tasted delicious, but when I showed my DH the receipt, he told me we would have to choose between super-healthy, super-expensive almond butter or cable TV. We eat 2 jars a week.

Sigh. Really, the only thing to do to secure clean, safe peanut butter is to keep checking the Internet. The FDA website keeps an updated list of products that have been recalled here. As you know, the salmonella outbreak affects all peanut butter that came from The Peanut Butter Corporation of America, a processing plant in Blakely, Georgia. I wish premature wrinkles on whoever is responsible for making me throw out about two-dozen peanut butter and cracker packets.

Meanwhile, other mainstream brands assure us they are safe on their websites. And these don’t cost as much as your mortgage:
Peter Pan

For now, my preschoolers and toddler can keep feeding their addiction. Luckily, we are not allergic, so we have been enjoying the health benefits of the stuff since they were each 1 year old. (I know, I know. You are supposed to wait till a kid is 3-years-old to introduce peanut butter.) I’ve chosen to give it to them early because peanuts are rich sources of protein, good fats and are naturally cholesterol-free. In moderation, they’re also great for me because I’m not a big meat eater.

But until this is over and we have more information, I will worry.

What do you think? Have you had to throw out lots of snack foods? With all the controversy, are you still eating jarred peanut butter?

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