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Peanut recall affects few foods on campus

Amanda Gray | Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In the past few months, a rash of product recalls, like that of peanut butter and other peanut products from the Peanut Corporation of America, has had Americans on edge.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Web site, the Georgia-based company went under investigation Dec. 3, 2008; the initial recall of its products began Jan. 10.

This has brought about many concerns for Notre Dame’s Food Distribution Services, Senior Associate Director Jim Yarbrough said.

“We’ve had lots of concerned callers,” he said.

Yarbrough said Notre Dame students shouldn’t be concerned about contaminated peanut butter. The supplier of Notre Dame Food Service’s peanut butter was not the Peanut Corporation of America.

The recall was ordered after the products were discovered to potentially be contaminated with Salmonella.

Several deaths, in many different states, have been linked to the outbreak, according to the FDA.

Notre Dame was notified of the recall, though, according to Yarbrough.

“Once recalls start, the company is obligated to tell its consumers,” he said.

The state health department and the county health department also alert all school and college campuses, according to Yarbrough.

Yarbrough said the chopped peanuts used for toppings on the ice cream bars in the dining halls were on the recall list.

Notre Dame’s supplier, who received the peanuts from Peanut Corporation of America, notified Notre Dame after they heard of the recall, said Yarbrough. The peanuts were pulled right away, and sent back. No incidents were reported on campus involving contaminated peanuts.

Other items recalled all over campus at many of the cafés and convenience areas were snack bars, like granola bars, which contained peanuts from the contaminated plant, according to Yarbrough.

These were pulled promptly after recall orders were issued.

One other recall the dining halls have been dealing with lately is recalled apple slices, according to Yarbrough. One of the most popular foods in the dining halls, these slices came from a particular company, and were recalled twice due to contamination. Notre Dame has decided to switch suppliers because of this, according to Yarbrough.

“We’ve gone to a new company,” said Yarbrough.

Keeping up with all of the recalls that come out nearly every day is quite a task, according to Yarbrough. They’ve dedicated a Web site to posting all of the recalls so they are easily accessible, according to Yarbrough.

“We hit it first thing in the morning, to take care of things like this,” he said.

The FDA has also set up a Web site listing all of the affected products. The list can be found at www.fda.gov, under the link “Search Recalled Peanut Products.”