Local peanut butter distributor says majority of affected products off shelves
Jif peanut butter products which were returned to Chas E Rampson. (Photo: Brittny Hutchinson)

MORE than 100 cases of select Jif peanut butter products are expected to return to distribution giant Chas E Ramson for disposal, following caution for potential salmonella contamination.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

“Healthy persons infected with salmonella often experience fever, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections), endocarditis and arthritis,” the FDA said.

Jif brand manager at Chas E Ramson Stephen Silvera said, while affected products are notably off the shelves in order to avoid harm to consumers, there are other Jif products available for purchase.

“Our sales monthly are in the region of 300 to 400 cases. Not all areas of the product are affected, so you’ll still see some on the shelves. We are not overly worried about the reaction of the consumers. We haven’t had any bad reactions and no one has reached out with any issues as yet, and we are thankful for that,” Silvera told the Jamaica Observer during a visit to the distributing company on Tuesday, which was observed as World Food Safety Day.

“At the time of the recall — May 20 — we had about 200 cases in our warehouse collectively and we would estimate that we will receive 100 and 150 cases from the trade based on consumption level. Being efficient in getting bad products off the shelf is something that everyone should strive to do, to protect the consumers,” he added.

In a press release dated May 31, the National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA) and the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC), advised that a product recall was issued for the J M Smucker Company in relation to Jif products sold in the United States and Canada, including products distributed internationally, due to potential salmonella contamination.

The products subject to recall bear the codes: 1274425 – 2140425. As it relates to products imported into Jamaica, the issue would affect Jif Creamy 340 gram (2032425) and Jif Reduced Fat 454 gram (2029425).

Following the release, an advertisement was placed in the Observer on Friday, advising customers to dispose of products in their possession or return to a point of purchase for refund.

Silvera said so far, retailers have been compliant, but there would only be a problem to retrieve the items quickly if some stores have the products in storage.

“They have definitely been cooperative in removing the products from the shelves; our staff in the stores have been doing the work and they understand what a recall is,” he said.

“They [some products] are probably boxed up in the back of stores and we are dependent on our truckers, on when they go and pick it up. So that’s where the downtime will be; hopefully, they’ll be efficient and bring it back,” he added.

The FDA website had also indicated that J M Smucker Co was recalling select Jif peanut butter products.

BY BRITTNY HUTCHINSON Observer staff reporter hutchinsonb@jamaicaobserver.com

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