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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

More than just the spread: ‘Urgent investigation’ into all peanut products

Peanut butter manufacturers across the country have been given 14 days to test and report back on the safety of their products.

Just when you thought it was safe to whip up peanut butter smoothies and sarmies with gusto again, the National Consumer Commission (NCC) has called upon all manufacturers of peanut butter to waste no time in testing their products for unsafe levels of aflatoxin.

As a matter of fact, the consumer commission’s notice this week compels manufacturers to test the aflatoxin levels in their products – including peanut butter-based products and those that contain peanuts – and present their results to the regulatory body within 14 days.

Aflatoxin health risk: Peanut butter products recalled

This development follows the recall of various peanut butter products earlier this month over concerns about the high levels of a fungus-produced toxin named aflatoxin. 

These included Pick n Pay No Name Smooth Peanut Butter, Eden Smooth Peanut Butter and Eden Crunch Peanut Butter, and certain batches of Dis-Chem’s Lifestyle Food peanut butter. 

ALSO READ: Peanut butter health risk spreading: More brands recalled due to high toxin levels

Woolies ice cream, Eat Naked added to list: Test all peanut butter products now

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

The latest recalls also affected Woolworths’ peanut butter ice cream and certain Eat Naked products.

The consumer commission’s notice this week affects all peanut butter, peanut butter-based products and products with peanuts, including but not limited to chocolates, sweets, cookies, ice cream, and peanut butter spreads.

NOW READ: ‘We are treating this as a priority’ – Woolworths responds to foreign substances found in their juices

High rate of recalls necessitates urgent investigation

Acting consumer commissioner Thezi Mabuza told TimesLIVE the commission is concerned by this high rate of recalls.

“To understand this challenge better, the commission has issued a notice in terms of section 60 (2) (a) of the Consumer Protection Act to manufacturers and suppliers of peanut butter. The notice requires suppliers to immediately conduct an urgent investigation, test their products for aflatoxin, and present their results to the commission within 14 days of receiving the notice. 

“In addition to this, the NCC extends the same call to other suppliers of products with peanuts to also investigate and submit their results to the NCC.

‘Immediate corrective measures’

While investigating their products, manufacturers, importers, and retailers are urged to take immediate corrective measures where their products are found to be unsafe.

“These include removing the products from the shelves following the NCC’s product recall protocols, informing relevant regulators in the space, as well as notifying consumers,” Mabuza said.

What is aflatoxin?

According to the Cancer Institute, aflatoxins are a family of toxins produced by certain fungi that are found on agricultural crops, including staples. Exposure to aflatoxins is associated with an increased risk of liver cancer, the group said.

Aflatoxin may lead to health complications not limited to nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

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