Business Maverick


Woolies recalls its peanut butter ice cream, but says other peanut butter products are safe

Woolies recalls its peanut butter ice cream, but says other peanut butter products are safe
Pedestrians sit on street benches outside the headquarters of Woolworths Holdings in Cape Town, South Africa, 16 February 2015. (Photo: Halden Krog / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

This third recall of a peanut butter product in less than a month will no doubt amplify unease among consumers. 

Barely two weeks after retailers — including Woolworths — assured consumers that their peanut butters were safe, Woolworths has announced it is recalling its Peanut Butter Dairy Ice Cream with immediate effect. 

But it says only the peanut butter ice cream is being recalled; the rest of its peanut butter products, including its Woolworths Peanut Butter, is perfectly safe for consumption. 

Peanut butter ice cream

Woolworths is recalling Peanut Butter Dairy Ice Cream with immediate effect. (Image: Woolworths website)

On 4 February, Pick n Pay sounded the alarm over the No-Name and Eden All Natural peanut butter in its stores, which had elevated levels of aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a carcinogenic mould that is found in the field and in poorly stored grains, nuts, spices, cocoa beans and even figs. It presents a real risk to health, but poisoning depends on the dose. These toxins cannot easily be destroyed by high temperatures as they are resistant to cooking, frying, baking and roasting.

Aflatoxin can cause liver cancer, but the disease only occurs after about 20 years of significant consumption.  

Kenya, Ivory Coast and Swaziland reportedly have the highest rate of liver cancer in Africa, which has been linked to aflatoxin-contaminated grain. 

Eden peanut butter — manufactured by House of Natural Butters and marketed as an all-natural peanut butter with no added sugar, stabilisers, preservatives and hydrogenated oils — was also sold by Faithful to Nature and Takealot. 

House of Natural Butters’ other private-label peanut butters, sold at Dis-Chem, health stores and online, were recalled a week after the initial recall, affecting Wazoogles Superfoods and Dis-Chem’s Lifestyle 400g and 800g Smooth and Crunchy.

Woolworths said it has systematically assessed all secondary products that contain peanut butter, such as biscuits, sauces, pretzels, energy bars and ice cream. 

“This was done as a precautionary measure to ensure all our products meet our stringent quality standards.

“As a result of this process, it was found that Woolworths Peanut Butter Ice Cream contains aflatoxin levels that exceed the legal limit; we are therefore removing it from shelves.” 

Customers who have bought the product may return it opened, or unopened, to their local store for a full refund.

“At Woolworths, we are committed to exceptional quality. Our rigorous food safety management processes ensure that all food that we produce, package and sell, delivers the Woolies quality our customers expect and trust.”

On 13 February, Daily Maverick reported that retailers and manufacturers had all been conducting their own tests in the wake of the recall to ensure aflatoxin levels were below the threshold. 

They also conduct routine testing, which is how Pick n Pay discovered the issue at the outset. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Mhondoro Yekwedu says:

    But the damage has already been done. Customers consumed the ice cream, peanut butter already. A full refund won’t solve anything. And how do u check as a customer that there is too much Aflatoxin.

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