Peanut butter removed from dining facilities due to recall


Last week Dining Services decided to remove peanut butter from the Marketplace and the Wildcat Den due to a recent national health scare.

The removal of peanut products from NMU’s cafeterias is related to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) investigation of a salmonella typhimurium outbreak, said Greg Minner, director of Dining Services.

“We’re taking our direction from the FDA,” said Minner. “As of Jan. 19, we pulled all products that have peanuts, peanut butter, or were packaged in the peanut plant.”

Peanut butter, however, can currently be purchased at Cat Trax, the on-campus commissary.

The FDA’s Web site lists approximately 50 company recalls of products which may contain salmonella.

Minner said that all of the peanut products used by Dining Services are provided by Gordon Food Services (GFS) and that no recall has been issued for GFS products.

“We have been told that nothing we have bought has been recalled or is tainted, but we are pulling all peanut related products as a safety precaution,” said Minner.

The FDA is working with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to fully investigate the outbreak. According to the CDC’s Web site, there have been 501 cases of people infected with the outbreak’s strain of salmonella. Michigan has the fifth most cases at 25.

The FDA and the CDC have traced the outbreak to peanut butter and peanut paste produced by the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) at a Georgia based processing plant. The FDA has issued a voluntary recall for products that may have been exposed to salmonella or goods from the PCA.

“Consumers are urged not to eat the recalled products and to discard of them in a manner that prevents others from eating them,” said Stephanie Kwisnek, a spokesperson for the FDA.

Some of the recipes used by Dining Services contain peanut products or items that were processed at locations where peanuts were handled.

“A lot of dessert recipes have had to be rethought,” said Minner.

The main concern was for the safety of students.

“I don’t want anyone getting sick at NMU,” said Minner.

Items containing peanut butter and peanut paste could still be bought by students from vending machines on campus until Wednesday morning. The vending machines are owned and operated by Northern Michigan Vending, and Minner said that he asked the company to begin removing those products on Jan. 19. A representative from Northern Michigan Vending could not be reached for comment.

Peanut butter will eventually return in full to NMU’s campus.

“As we get approval from the FDA, we will put the approved products back out,” said Minner.

Some students have felt the current absence of peanut butter at NMU’s cafeterias.

“I’ve heard a lot of complaining, but I guess that it is a good idea that they did pull it,” said sophomore photography major, Tina Knox.