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Salmonella outbreak effects sales of peanut butter products

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK The national salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 500 people, eight of whom have died, has not only prompted many retailers, including CVS and Walgreens, to pull certain products containing peanuts from their shelves but has had a significant impact on sales of peanut butter products, even those not affiliated with the particular supplier of tainted product.

“The peanut butter outbreak shows little ill-effect on prepackaged peanuts, but the peanut butter category is definitely showing the impact. It would appear that manufacturers and retailers are quickly removing potentially tainted products off of store shelves. For those who are not affiliated with the particular supplier of tainted product, now is the time to take extra measures to educate consumers and minimize any negative impact,” stated Todd Vale, SVP, Consumer & Shopper Insights at Nielsen.

According to recent data released by Nielsen, $72.5 million in jarred peanut butter was sold at food, drug and mass (excluding Wal-Mart) during the four weeks, down 11.5% compared with previous four-week period and down 3.8% compared with the same period a year-ago. According to Nielsen, while the year-over-year decline may seem minimal, it comes after eight consecutive periods of double-digit growth in this category.

In addition, 33.8 million pounds of jarred peanut butter was sold during the four weeks, down 11% from the previous four weeks and down 22.1% from the same period a year ago.

Nielsen noted that prepackaged peanuts, including bags, cans, jars and unshelled, have experienced a drop in sales but this pattern reflects the typical seasonal pattern seen for each of the past four years.

Nielsen stated that it will update the information at the end of the next four-week period to further measure the effect the outbreak and resulting recalls have had on consumer behavior.

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300 Safeway stores to carry Yakult U.S.A. probiotic beverage

BY Michael Johnsen

TORRANCE, Calif. Yakult U.S.A. on Friday announced that more than 300 Safeway stores throughout Northern California, Arizona and Hawaii will begin carrying its probiotic beverage, which contains around 8 billion live and active probiotics per 2.7 fluid ounce bottle and is available as a 5-pack for a suggested retail of $2.99.

“Initially retailers were hesitant to bring on Yakult because it was an unknown brand name in the U.S.,” stated Marjorie Yamat, national key account manager for Yakult U.S.A. Yakult currently possesses more than 10 percent of dollar share in probiotic dairy drinks throughout Southern California, the company reported, citing Nielsen Group data.

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As search for salmonella source continues, Senate plans hearing

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Concern over the national salmonella outbreak that has sickened more than 500 people, eight of whom have died, has prompted many retailers, including CVS and Walgreens, to pull certain products containing peanuts from their shelves. Meanwhile, the Senate is expected to hold a hearing on the outbreak on Thursday.

Concern is on the rise as the number of peanut products being added to the recall list tops 1,000. The items range from ice cream, to trail mixes to granola bars. 

The massive outbreak has prompted lawmakers to spring into action to press for more stringent food safety laws and more money for inspections. According to an Associated Press report, the Senate is expected to hold a hearing on the outbreak on Thursday. 

“To say that food safety in this country is a patchwork system is giving it too much credit. It is a hit or miss gamble, and that is truly frightening,” Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, was quoted as saying in the AP report. 

However, it remains unclear whether Congress will be able to deliver a major overhaul in food safety as it deals with other critical issues such as the ailing economy and the swelling federal deficit. 

As previously reported by Drug Store News, CVS announced earlier this week the voluntary recall of four types of Gold Emblem candy containing peanuts in light of the outbreak. 

The products being recalled were sold in its stores between Jan. 1, 2007 and Jan. 29, 2009. CVS stated that it was notified by its candy manufacturer that these products contain peanuts from Peanut Corporation of America, which is the focus of an FDA investigation into potential salmonella contamination of peanut butter food products. 

CVS stated that it is not aware of any reported cases of illness related to its Gold Emblem peanut products. It has issued the voluntary recall as a matter of precaution. To read more about this recall visit http://www.drugstorenews.com/section.aspx?id=177&menuid=339

It was also announced this week that Walgreens has voluntarily recalled four types of Cafe W brand trail mix containing peanuts sold in most Walgreens stores, as well four types of Walgreens brand chocolate candy containing peanuts sold in stores from Jan. 1, 2007 to Jan. 29, 2009. Walgreens was notified that these products contain peanuts from Peanut Corporation of America. Walgreens stated that it is not aware of any reported cases of illness related to these products. This recall includes the following products:€ Walgreens Cafe W marathon mix; 7 oz.; UPC 4902241012; best by all dates prior to 1/31/2010€ Walgreens Cafe W super energy mix; 5 oz.; UPC 4902239747; best by all dates prior to 8/15/2009€ Walgreens Cafe W super energy mix; 7 oz.; UPC 4902241011; best by all dates prior to 1/31/2010;€ Walgreens Cafe W cranberry crunch; 7 oz.; UPC 4902241013; best by all dates prior to 1/31/2010;€ Walgreens Bridge Mix 3.5 oz., 4 oz., 14 oz. and 15 oz.;€ Walgreens Chocolate Covered Peanuts 3.5 oz., 4 oz., 13.5 oz. and 15 oz.;€ Walgreens Caramel Nut Clusters 3.5 oz., 4 oz., 13.5 oz. and 15 oz.;€ Walgreens Chocolate Peanut Clusters 3.5 oz. and 4 oz. 

Additional retailers that have pulled certain products from their shelves include, but are not limited to, Kroger; Publix; Weis Markets; Hy-Vee; Wegmans Food Marks; Meijer; and HEB. 

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