Dining Services quick to replace tainted peanut butter

Dining Services quick to replace tainted peanut butter

Cafeterias, restaurants and grocery stores across the nation scrambled to discard tainted peanut butter after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the presence of salmonella in Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter.

Pfeiffer Dining Hall was no different. Blair Stairs, general manager of Pfeiffer Dining Services took action right away to discard all of the contaminated peanut butter.

“I got an alert through my e-mail and pulled it immediately,” Stairs said.

Federal health officials reported the peanut butter was linked to a salmonella outbreak that has caused at least 330 illnesses since August.

At least one student at Simpson has had a confirmed case of salmonella. Sophomore Katie Petrak said she got sick from the bacteria a few weeks ago.

“On Wednesday (Feb. 21) morning I wasn’t feeling the greatest,” Petrak said. “I had a fever of 104, so that afternoon I went to the hospital and had some blood tests done.”

Petrak’s test results confirmed that she had a case of salmonella. “The doctor said it was probably from peanut butter, since that’s what has been going around,” she said. “I was only sick for a few days.”

Although Petrak did not officially report her case of food poisoning to the school, the food service staff did show their concern.

“I mentioned it to the lady working express, and she was very apologetic,” Petrak said.

The Sodexho Food Management Company, which runs all of the dining services for the Simpson campus, takes many precautionary measurements to ensure the food served on campus is safe. The company only works with authorized vendors whose products have met initial standards. The company also belongs to several organizations that notify them during health situations.

“We have information coming in from everywhere,” Stairs said. “Our quality-assurance department takes that information and gets it out to all of the various units.”

Some students were surprised when they went to Pfeiffer and realized there was no peanut butter. Freshman Eric Patten noticed immediately that the food staple was missing.

“I noticed the very next meal,” Patten said. “I usually eat peanut butter twice, maybe even three times a day, so I didn’t know what to do.”

Patten was quick to point out, however, that he was happy the school was taking necessary steps to ensure the students’ health.

“I was glad that they got the bad stuff out,” he said.

Stairs said he worked quickly to replace the contaminated peanut butter.

“I went down immediately and picked up an alternative peanut butter,” Stairs said. “We were out maybe one meal.”

While some students may have been a little disgruntled by the ordeal, the dining staff did what it felt was necessary to ensure the health of all who eat at the dining hall.

“The safety of our customers is of paramount importance,” Stairs said.