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Saturday, February 14, 2009

But, I love peanut butter!

Everyday I get an email in my in box from the FDA of a new product being recalled because of peanuts, peanut butter and/or peanut paste contaminated with salmonella. And these alerts aren't just for the hoomans, some are for us dogs too!

The Peanut Corporation of America is where all the contaminated products were produced. It all began in mid January. The company has ceased operations until a full criminal investigation can be completed, and is now facing bankruptcy. Here is some additional news:

January 16 - Dog dies after eating recalled peanut butter crackers January 26 - Woman loses dog after animal eats recalled treats February 13 - Salmonella poisoning in dog linked to peanut butter recall

I love peanut butter. It's one of my highly anticipated treats. Mum puts it in Kongs for me and my sis, Gracie, to lick up nearly every day for our afternoon snack. It's a very scary thing when one of your absolute favorites is stricken by a horrible and potentially deadly substance. These recall dangers will most probably never go away. Today it's peanut butter, in 2007 it was melamine and glutens in pet foods, then it was lead in toys. Who knows what tomorrow will bring. So how do you keep your pup safe?

  • Keep informed by subscribing to the FDA's recall alert list, to get up to the minute information (or get your alerts through an RSS feed, post a cool widget on your website or blog, get alerts through Twitter, or view the entire list here by category). And remember, just because the item is listed today on their site, doesn't mean it may not appear in the future.

  • Watch your local and national news broadcasts for updates on product recalls.

  • Purchase your products from reliable sources. These sources can be locally grown and/or organic items purchased from a trusted source.

  • Do your research. Check with the manufacturer. Investigate the sources of ingredients and foods from those you purchase. Learn how the foods are made and grown, and from where the ingredients are purchased and made.

  • If you can't determine if your pup's foods that contain peanuts or peanut butter includes PB sourced from Peanut Corp. of America, don't take any chances. Don't feed it to them and toss it immediately.

  • Grow or make your own foods and pup products.

Dangers are everywhere - in our yards, in our homes, when were on our walks, playing with our buds, and in our food. Believe me, I know, I've been effected by several dangers in my short four years.

So what's a dog to do?

Realize that dangers can be anywhere and can happen when you least expect; they, unfortunately, are a part of life. Be vigilante, educate yourself about your pup's environment and the items and foods they come in contact with, and keep a careful eye out for dangers, avoiding them as best you can.

So what are we doing about the peanut butter that we love so dearly? We threw out all the pre-made treats in our house that contain peanut butter. But, yes, we still get our Kongs filled with that luscious stuff, nearly everyday. We purchased our organic peanut butter at Whole Foods. It's made with only peanuts with no additional ingredients. And we've had it in our refrigerator since before the recall.

When we found out about the recall, Mum called the company that made our peanut butter to find out where the peanuts were purchased. Satisfied with the investigation, Mum is feeling much more confident about giving us our daily treat. But we are still taking a risk, and we realize that.

We admit, she is thinking about growing her own peanuts and making homemade peanut butter for all of us, since it is one of our absolute favs.

Here's a recipe:

4 cups natural peanuts (not salted)

3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Roast the Peanuts

Pre-heat your oven - 350 degrees

Remove the shells from your peanuts

Spread the peanuts around a baking sheet

Bake the peanuts for about 15 to 18 minutes

Allow the peanuts to cool

Make the Peanut Butter

Add 1/2 the peanuts and 1/2 the oil to your food processor or blender

Mix them up until somewhat clumpy

Add the rest of the peanuts and oil

Mix until creamy

Refrigerate between use. And the best part? You can use this peanut butter to make your pup some pawsome peanut butter biscuits!

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