May 28, 2024

FDA Warning Letter to Smuckers Over Jif Peanut Butter Outbreak

An FDA warning letter sent to the Smuckers corporation about the Jif peanut butter Salmonella Senftenberg outbreak details serious violations of the law, including Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food.

Jif peanut butter was linked to an outbreak in the first part of 2022 that sickened at least 21 people in 17 states. Four  people were hospitalized. All peanut butter manufactured at the J.M. Smucker facility in Lexington, Kentucky from October 1, 2021 to May 20, 2022 was recalled after the outbreak was announced.

FDA Warning Letter to Smuckers Over Jif Peanut Butter Outbreak

The warning letter states, “the evidence establishes that you introduced adulterated peanut butter into interstate commerce as prohibited by section 301(a) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act) [21 U.S.C. § 331(a)].”

The letter further states that the ready to eat peanut butter manufactured in that facility was adulterated because it was “prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby it may have been contaminated with filth or rendered injurious to health.” Form 483 was issued after the inspection was completed.

The letter states that the company found Salmonella in the peanut butter on “numerous occasions,” including October 22 and December 15, 2022, as well as February 4, 9, 10, 20, and 21, 2022, and that corrective actions were not sufficient to address the problem.

For instance, a leak in the air intake vent of the cooling chamber was found on February 17 and 18, and the company said it was immediately repaired. But, Salmonella was found in the product on February 20, 2022. The FDA is also concerned that the history of contamination associated with the water in the facility suggests that Salmonella may be resident in the building.

Puddles of water, which were indicative of microbial growth, were found in the facility in February 2022. A defective flange allowed rain water and unfiltered air into the roaster’s cooling zones and into contact with peanuts after the roasting (kill) step. In 2021, swabs taken by the FDA from different areas in the facility tested positive for Salmonella on July 6, 8, 12, September 3, and November 16, 2021.

Symptoms of Salmonella food poisoning include a fever, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach and abdominal pain and cramps, and diarrhea that may be bloody. If you have eaten recalled Jif peanut butter and have been experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor.

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