SA’s top consumer protection body has called for urgent tests of peanut butter in the wake of the recall of certain brands due to possible health risks.
The National Consumer Commission said in a statement that it was conducting a nationwide assessment of South African peanut butters to establish whether they have been affected by higher than acceptable levels of Aflatoxin, which can cause health complications.
“The commission urges the manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of peanut butter to comply with regulations and conduct urgent tests to assess the safety of the products on their shelves and take immediate corrective steps if found to be unsafe,” said acting National Consumer Commissioner Thezi Mabuza in a statement.
The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has also expanded the number of peanut butter brands being recalled. All of the affected brands are manufactured by the same producer – House of Natural Butters.
Mabuza said in the statement that the commission was investigating “the affairs” of House of Natural Butters.
The problem was first flagged when Pick n Pay last week recalled No Name Smooth Peanut Butter, Eden Smooth Peanut Butter and Eden Crunch Peanut Butter brands after in-house standard testing by the group found the products to have higher than regulated levels of Aflatoxin.
In a statement on Friday, the NCC called to attention all persons who have these peanut butter brands to immediately stop consuming them and return them to the point of purchase:
• Dischem’s Lifestyle 400 grams Smooth and Crunchy.
• Dischem’s Lifestyle 800 grams Smooth and Crunchy.
• Wazoogles Superfoods – all sizes starting from 32g to 20kg.
• Pick n Pay’s No Name 1kg smooth.
• Eden All Natural.
They can be returned with a full refund with or without proof of purchase.
Pick n Pay’s No Name, Eden All Natural, and Dischem’s Lifestyle brands were distributed nationally, while Wazoogles Superfoods products were distributed mainly in the Western Cape.
The NCC said the House of Natural Butters informed the commission that all these brands were “found to have higher than legally acceptable levels of Aflatoxin” as set out under regulations”.
Aflatoxin may lead to health complications that include, but are not limited to, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
According to the World Health Organisation, large doses of aflatoxins can lead to acute poisoning known as aflatoxicosis, and can be life-threatening, typically due to liver damage. There is evidence that they can contribute to cancer in humans, and Aflatoxin can also damage DNA, according to the WHO’s website.