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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Aflatoxin alert: Clover GoNuts peanut butter latest recall – What to know and do

Batches of Clover's Go Nuts peanut butter are being recalled after tests revealed high levels of aflatoxin.

In what the National Consumer Commission (NCC) calls an “eye-opener”, Clover will be investigated for alleged contraventions of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) after the manufacturer recalled 10 776 units of its Go Nuts peanut butter due to higher-than-acceptable levels of aflatoxin.

The recall by Clover comes after the regulatory body issued a notice to all producers, manufacturers, and suppliers of peanut butter, peanut butter-based products, as well as products containing peanuts, to immediately test their products for aflatoxin levels and submit their results.

First five peanut butter brands recalled

The alarm bells about the health risk posed by high levels of the  a fungus-produced toxin were sounded when five peanut butter brands were recalled in February.

The following products were recalled:

  • Pick ‘n Pay’s 1kg No Name;
  • Dischem’s Lifestyle Brand 400g and 800g of their smooth and crunchy;
  • Wazoogles (various sizes); Eat Naked (various sizes);
  • Eden Smooth Peanut Butter and Eden Crunch Peanut Butter.

More recalls hit the shelves

In a concerning development of the situation “unpacking” on our shelves, certain Eat Naked products as well as Woolworths’s peanut butter ice cream were recalled at the end of February.

Woolworths’ peanut butter ice cream was in February added to the list of peanut butter products which have been recalled due to health risks posed by high levels of aflatoxin. Photos: Supplied

Call for peanut butter testing an ‘eye-opener’ – NCC

Acting commissioner Thezi Mabuza said the call to suppliers, manufacturers and distributors of these products to immediately test their products for levels of aflatoxin has been an eye-opener.

“From the test results that were received by the NCC, there is an indication that suppliers were not compliant with their protocols, and regulations. We are expecting suppliers, to be specific, the retailers, to immediately recall those brands that are non-compliant.”

She said the regulatory body will “take a decisive decision to get to the bottom of the challenge”, explaining that upon receiving the notification from Clover, the commission assessed the recall and established some inconsistencies with the CPA.

ALSO READ: How product recalls protect SA consumers

Clover GoNuts peanut butter recall: What to know and do

Meanwhile, consumers who are in possession of Clover Go Nuts peanut butter 400g with the best-before dates listed below, are urged to stop consuming the product and return it to the point of
purchase for a full refund:

• Best before: 12, 18, and 19 June 2025;
• Best before: 19 July 2025.

Voluntary recall of peanut butter

The peanut butter recall has so far been a voluntary recall. In the case of a voluntary product recall, the NCC guidelines require that suppliers:

  • Conduct a risk analysis of the safety hazard;
  • Cease production or modify the manufacturing process for the product identified for recall;
  • Notify the relevant regulator/s and relevant parties;
  • Determine a course of action;
  • Prepare a written recall strategy/plan;
  • Draft a communication plan for consumers;
  • Arrange for the retrieval of the products;
  • Meet reporting obligations.

Why are aflatoxins dangerous?

Food safety expert Professor Lucia Anelich said aflatoxins are a group of toxins produced by several fungi found naturally in the environment.

“Therefore, they can be present on different crops, such as cottonseed, maize, rice, some spices, cocoa beans, tree nuts and peanuts while growing in the field. The aflatoxins are then produced by the fungi, mainly when these commodities are stored incorrectly in warm and humid conditions after harvesting.”

According to Anelich, aflatoxins are potent liver carcinogens, capable of causing cancer in all animal species studied, including humans.

NOW READ: Peanut butter recall: What are aflatoxins and why are they dangerous?

Additional reporting by Ina Opperman.

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