Has This Peanut Product Been Recalled? FDA Website Makes It Easy to Find Out.

    Has This Peanut Product Been Recalled? FDA Website Makes It Easy to Find Out.

    Jack Guzewich, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Food Defense, Communication, and Emergency Response, at the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

    Have you noticed a difference in our website here at the FDA?  During the current Salmonella outbreak, our website has been warning consumers to avoid certain peanuts and peanut products that are affected by the outbreak – but that’s nothing new; we’ve always let consumers know about potentially contaminated foods that could harm them. 

    What’s new is that our website has made it easier for you to find out if peanuts or peanut products you’ve bought, or want to buy, have been recalled.  Besides the list of recalled products we usually post, we now offer a searchable database of the recalled products, available at www.fda.gov/salmonella.  Enter the name of the product you want to find out about, and the database will show you if it’s among those that have been recalled.

    For example, if you enter a brand name in the search box, recalled products carrying that brand name will pop up.  You can search the database in several ways, including by:

    • brand name or
    • the UPC code that appears on the product or
    • a description of the product or
    • any combination of the above.

    Another Easy Option

    If you just want to do it the old-fashioned way and look over our website’s traditional list of peanuts and peanut products that have been recalled, instead of searching the database, we’ve tried to make things easier for you, too.  The items in the traditional list are divided into categories with easy-to-read headings; for example, cakes, ice cream, peanut butter, pet food, etc., and you can browse over the list or look through it to find a specific product or brand.

    It bears repeating:   If either of these options on our website shows you that a product you’ve bought has been recalled, that means you should throw it out in a manner that keeps it out of reach of other people and of pets.  Please wash your hands with hot, soapy water after you’ve discarded the product.

    If you know people who don’t have computers, let them know they can still find out if a product is on the recall list.  They can make a free phone call to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 24-hour phone line, at 1-800-CDC-INFO (or 1-800-232-4636).  A representative will help them find out what they want to know.

    Sign Up for Automatic E-mail Notices of Recalls

    Did you know that you can sign up with FDA to have recall notices automatically sent to you by e-mail?  FDA will send you companies’ announcements that they’re recalling a specific product or products, whether or not the products have been linked to an outbreak.

    Free Widget Available

    If you have your own blog or website, you might want to put our new widget on it.  It’s a searchable list of recalled peanut products that you can plug onto your site and that FDA will routinely update for you.  The updates will automatically show up on the widget, on your blog or website, so your readers will have the latest information. 

    What Product Labels Won’t Tell You

    I want to turn my attention to a related, but different, topic.  I want to make sure consumers understand that the name of the company we found to be the source of the Salmonella contamination – Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) – will not appear on the labels of most of the potentially contaminated peanuts and peanut products involved in this outbreak.

     In other words, you can’t just go into a grocery store, look at the label of a food containing peanuts or peanut products, and assume that it’s not being recalled if it doesn’t say “Peanut Corporation of America” somewhere on the label. 

    The reason for this is that PCA sold peanuts and peanut products primarily to other manufacturers to use as ingredients in other foods, and those other foods carry the manufacturer’s label, not PCA’s name.  For example, if PCA sold peanut paste to another company for use in making crackers or cookies, the labels on those crackers or cookies would have the company's name – not PCA's name – on them. 

    The good news is that the searchable database and recall list on the FDA website include these kinds of products.  That makes it even more important for you to check either the database or the list often, as more products may be added to them.

    …And Check Company Websites

    If you have a product that contains peanuts in your home, or you plan to buy one, it’s a good idea to check the website of the company that made the product – even if it doesn’t appear on FDA’s searchable database or recall list.  Companies issue recalls voluntarily.  In case they haven't yet provided their recall information to the FDA, for example, it's best to visit company websites as a final safety check to look for information about peanuts and peanut products you plan to eat or buy.  Please be aware, however, that FDA has not verified all information that may be on these websites.

    The company website also may tell you if the company’s peanut products don't contain ingredients purchased from PCA.  For example, companies that make the major national brands of peanut butter sold in jars in grocery stores have told FDA that they don't buy ingredients from PCA.  These brands are not associated with the outbreak.

    Access to Information Is a Key to Prevention

    Recalled peanuts and peanut products made by PCA were used as ingredients in many different kinds of foods, resulting in a large number of recalls by other firms.  Protecting your health is our goal at FDA, and making it easy for you to find out what products have been recalled during this outbreak is helping us to prevent more illnesses.

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