By Steve Karnowski
Officials have told school lunch programs across the country to check to see whether they have any Smucker's Uncrustables sandwiches that might contain peanut butter made by a New Mexico company that is being recalled because of potential salmonella contamination.
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. She said she did not immediately know how many sandwiches were involved.
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 Uncrustable sandwiches.
"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.