Risk Managers – What Is “Confirmed Information?”
On September 22, grocer Trader Joe’s announced a recall of 16oz. plastic jars of Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter. The original recall announcement, posted on the 22nd, contained the following language: Out of the utmost caution and care for our customers, Trader Joe’s is voluntarily recalling its Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter because of potential contamination with Salmonella. At this time, no confirmed illnesses directly linked to this product have been reported to Trader Joe’s. While we have no confirmed information that suggests this peanut butter is unsafe to eat, there is nothing more important to us than the health and safety of our customers and crew, and the quality of our products. On September 24, Drew Falkenstein, a Seattle-based food safety attorney and fantastic food safety blogger, took issue with the language, noting that on the same day of the recall, the CDC had announced that 14 of the 28 cases of a Salmonella Bredeney cluster had been interviewed, with 14/14 cases reporting shopping at Trader Joe’s, and 12/14 cases reporting consumption of Trader Joe’s Creamy Salted Valencia Peanut Butter in the week before getting sick.
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