The governments of Belize and the British Virgin Islands (BVI) have both announced nationwide recalls of Jif peanut butter from grocery stores and supermarkets.
The two territories, in statements by their respective health ministries on Tuesday (May 24), said the decision was taken acknowledging the J.M. Smucker Company’s “voluntary recall of select Jif products due to potential Salmonella contamination”.
J.M. Smucker, the makers of Jif, signalled their intention to recall select batches of the popular peanut butter brand in the United States last Friday.
In response, the Ministry of Health and Wellness in Belize launched its own investigation into the recall as the Central American country imports Jif peanut butter.
As a precautionary measure, the ministry advised Belizeans to check the labels of recently purchased Jif products for specific lot codes, which would indicate whether their peanut butter is among those listed as “contaminated” or safe to eat.
Around 49 Jif peanut butter and peanut butter-related products are included in the recall.
“The Ministry of Health & Wellness has commenced a thorough investigation at major supermarkets countrywide as a precautionary action as Belize imports the products in question. Where these products are identified, they will be seized, condemned and destroyed,” the press office of the Government of Belize advised yesterday.
“Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. The attached table includes a list of recalled products along with lot codes 1274425 – 2140425. Lot codes are included alongside best-if-used-by date,” the agency added.
Similarly, BVI’s Ministry of Health and Social Development has since urged consumers, restaurants and retailers not to “eat, sell, or serve any recalled Jif brand peanut butter or peanut butter products”.
The Environmental Health Division of the ministry further recommended Virgin Islanders take the following steps:
- Conduct a search to see it there is Jif peanut butter in your home.
- Locate the lot code on the back of the jar, under the Best If Used By Date (the lot code may be next to the Best If Used By Date for cups or squeeze pouches).
- In the lot code, if the first four digits are between 1274 and 2140, and the next three numbers after that are ‘425’, this means the product has been recalled and should not be consumed.
“Persons who have used these recalled products are advised to wash and sanitise surfaces and utensils that were exposed to the product. Persons are also asked to contact their healthcare provider if they have eaten the peanut butter and are having symptoms of salmonellosis,” noted officials in the British Virgin Islands.
“Several retailers have taken steps to remove the product from their shelves and the environmental health officers are conducting inspections to ensure the safe removal of said items,” the statement continued.