Austin Public Schools removed three cases of Smucker’s Uncrustables from its lunch rooms. None of the sandwiches in the recall were served. -- Herald file photo

Archived Story

Austin schools included in PB recall

Published 11:23am Monday, October 22, 2012

Uncrustables potentially had tainted peanut butter

Austin Public Schools has avoided a salmonella scare linked to a New Mexico company and the peanut butter contained in Smucker’s Uncrustable sandwiches.

According to Mary Weikum, food services director for Austin schools, Austin schools had three cases of Uncrustables that fell within the recall dates; however, the cases were never opened and have been destroyed. Austin schools will continue serving Uncrustables not listed within the recall dates.

Health officials told school lunch programs across the country to check whether they had any of the sandwiches that might contain the peanut butter made by Sunland Inc. The J.M. Smucker Co. used peanut butter that was produced by Sunland Inc. and supplied by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in “limited production runs” of 72-count bulk packs of the sandwiches that went to schools under the National School Lunch Program, Smucker’s spokeswoman Maribeth Badertscher said in an email Thursday.

Uncrustables are pre-made peanut butter and jelly, pocket-like, circular sandwiches.

The Orrville, Ohio-based company tests all the incoming USDA-supplied peanut butter it gets, and tests finished products before distributing them, and found no problems, she said.

But out of “an abundance of caution,” and working with federal agencies, she said, Smucker’s recently notified school customers that they should check to see if they still have any of the crustless frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from the recalled lots, which all have either expired or will expire soon. They should not be served to students, the company said.

No other Smucker’s products contain peanut butter from Sunland or other outside suppliers, Badertscher said.

Sunland shut down its plant in Portales, N.M., last month and recalled more than 200 products made under a variety of brand names after salmonella was found in Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter. Thirty-five illnesses in 19 states have been linked to Sunland, but no illnesses have been linked to the Uncrustables.

Pacelli Catholic Schools, along schools in Hayfield and Brownsdale do not serve the sandwiches. Other local school officials were not available for comment on Monday morning.

“When USDA learned of the FDA recall of certain products manufactured by Sunland, Inc., we coordinated with state agencies to immediately notify individual school districts and ensure that recalled products were identified and destroyed,” USDA spokeswoman Alyn Kiel said in an email.

The Smucker’s recall was first reported by Food Poisoning Bulletin, a web site published by Minneapolis-based food safety lawyer Fred Pritzker.

—Associated Press contributed to this report.


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