Peanut butter off menu

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are no longer on lunch trays in Columbia County schools.

 

In response to the nationwide scare over salmonella-tainted products from a Blakely, Ga., plant, Columbia County school nutrition officials temporarily have removed peanut butter from school lunch menus.

School Nutrition Coordinator Dana McCormack said though Columbia County schools do not use peanut butter supplied by Peanut Corporation of America, the Blakely, Ga., plant linked to salmonella-tainted products blamed for eight deaths and hundreds of illnesses in 43 states, the staple has been pulled from the menu to avoid public confusion.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which for two years have been available daily as part of the county's school lunch program, have been replaced on each school's menu by a "manager's choice" item, Ms. McCormack said.

The self-imposed ban will last through the end of the month, she said.

The school system, which has received certification from its supplier, U.S. Food Service, that its peanut butter is safe, will store its peanut butter until then.

ACROSS THE AREA

STILL SAFE: Neither Richmond nor Aiken County school systems purchase products that use peanut butter from the Peanut Corporation of America, which is being investigated in a nationwide salmonella outbreak. Neither has taken peanut butter off its school lunch menus as a result of the recall.

AFTER-SCHOOL SNACK: Although Richmond County's school lunches have not been affected by the recall, peanut butter crackers were pulled from its after-school programs about two weeks ago, Director of School Nutrition Josephine Mack said. A vendor substituted them for cheese crackers the school system had ordered.