By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer
Local peanut and peanut product producers are safe from a nationwide peanut butter product recall.
Officials with Sunland Peanut Inc. and Leslie Candy Co. said their peanuts are grown locally, nowhere near the salmonella contamination identified by the Food and Drug Administration.
There have been 488 cases of salmonella in 43 states, according to the FDA. No cases have been identified in New Mexico.
Federal officials have linked the outbreak to King Nut brand peanut butter manufactured by Peanut Corp. of America in Blakely, Ga.
The business recalled peanut butter made on or after Aug. 8 and peanut paste made on or after Sept. 26.
The peanut butter and paste is also further distributed to manufacturers of some cookies, crackers, cereal, candy, ice cream and dog food.
Clovis’ Leslie Candy Co. hasn’t been affected by the recall, according to bookkeeper Brittany Adams. Leslie Candy Co. uses peanut products in some of their candy.
Adams said the company gets peanuts from Portales Select Peanut Co., a division of Hampton Farm, whose peanuts were not affected by the recall.
Sunland Peanut Inc. President Jimmie Shearer said the company’s business hasn’t been affected, but its customers have been calling.
“Everyone wants to know if our product is OK,” he said. “And it is.”
Shearer attributed the continued safe products to the company’s strong preventative program.
“We’re in great shape. We even use an independent third party, which tests every load of peanut butter that we produce for salmonella as well as other things,” he said.
Shearer said the company is more worried about consumers assuming that all peanut butter is bad.
“We were getting a lot of new orders until a big article said to stop buying peanut butter,” Shearer said.
Peanuts used for Sunland’s products are grown mostly in Portales, Shearer said, away from any contaminated equipment or plants.