THE VAULT

PB & Salmonella
February 25, 2007 by The Colonel

I like my peanut butter with just a dash of disease.

There could be a terror lurking quietly in your home as you read this very article. No one knows how it got there, or why, but rest assured, it may or may not be there. Where is this silent killer? Who or what is it, and why don’t I just come out and tell you? Because, dear reader, as you should already know, that’s not the way the media works and neither does Slantmouth.

Imagine: when your child comes home from a hard day of school, and no one is there to protect him, not even you. But somewhere in your house, a killer awaits who could strike at any moment. Is it an Islamic Extremist? One of those sickos from Dateline? A bear?

No.

The killer is a jar of peanut butter, and it’s coming to a sandwich near you. ConAgra Foods Inc. recalled salmonella tainted Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter all across the nation last week, stating, “We are truly sorry for any harm that our peanut butter products may have caused. Especially when combined with jelly.” The outbreak sickened at least 329 people from 41 states since August, which lead Slantmouth to ask, why didn’t we hear about this sooner?

Dave Daigle, of the CDC, commented; “Now the question becomes, how did the salmonella get in the jar?” Slantmouth consulted top scientists (by which, we mean Google) and discovered that salmonella commonly originates from the feces of birds and animals. That being said, we’re going to have to deduce that there’s an off chance that someone got some dung in the butter.

Oddly, this isn’t the first salmonella outbreak to occur in peanut butter. In the mid-1990s, Australia (Britain’s hick cousin) fell under the attack by the dirty bacteria. The outbreak down under was attributed to unsanitary plant conditions.

Every year, roughly 40,000 people are infected, but only 60 die from salmonella. Generally, those that die are young, have weak immunes, or are elderly. One of the victims of this particular outbreak was 76-year-old Roberta Barkay. Mrs. Barkay, her husband and their daughter were all stricken with illness as a result of the bacteria, however only Mrs. Barkay died.

“When you wake up in the morning, you just don’t think it’s going to be peanut butter that does it,” William Barkay, Roberta’s husband stated, “A car accident, terrorists, a heart attack, even… but peanut butter?”

The Barkay family has filed suit against Omaha-based ConAgra. Gary Rodkin, a chief executive at the company said they are taking, “all reasonable steps to remedy the situation. We ask that no one engage in ‘peanut butter-jelly time’ for the foreseeable future,” he continued, “At very least, not with Peter Pan brand products.”

Slantmouth sympathizes with the families who have been afflicted with the horrors of salmonella. But if anything, this should serve as a cautionary tale to all consumers across the nation. Cheaper products often come with sacrifices that one may not foresee. Sure, you may save a little in the short-term, doesn’t mean it’s good for the long-term. Would you settle for a third-rate airbag or a generic brand condom? Of course not, that’s why, when it comes to peanut butter, Slantmouth endorses Jif. Don’t forget, choosy moms choose Jif®.

~The Colonel