‘Very difficult’: Jif peanut butter recall impacting Northeast Ohio food banks

AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – The recent recall of certain Jif brand peanut butter is connected to a multi-state salmonella outbreak directly impacting some of Northeast Ohio’s largest food banks.

“We have 602 agency partners, 228 of which had received some of this product on 534 orders,” said Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank President and CEO Dan Flowers. “A fair amount of this product has flown through the food bank.”

The CDC and FDA warn of peanut butter linked salmonella infections across 12 states leaving some hospitalized. Federal regulators caution the true number of sick people connected to the outbreak is likely higher than reported due to some recovering without medical intervention.

Flowers said the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank issued a robocall to its charitable partner network and spent Monday searching inventory to find the recalled items.

WJW photo

“We’ve been fortunate to get a lot of peanut butter from Jif, from Smucker’s over the years,” he said. “It didn’t surprise me at all that some of that has gone through our food bank as well.”

A Greater Cleveland Food Bank spokesperson said the recalled peanut butter had minimal impact to its operations because the food bank has not recently purchased any peanut butter. However, partner agencies were alerted as a precaution.

Meanwhile in Akron, the effort to track down recalled items ending in lot code numbers “425” found near the use by date on package labels remains underway.

Flowers said the situation is unfortunate because peanut butter remains one of their most donated items.
The recall is happening as rising food costs limit what families facing poverty can afford to purchase.

“It’s a great protein product … a very difficult time for people struggling with poverty,” said Flowers. “At the food bank we’ve struggled to get inventory in our food bank all year long, these are very difficult things.”

Flowers said the product in their possession is expected to be thrown out shortly.

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