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The great peanut butter shortage

There's a crisis on South Lake Drive.

We're stuck in the great peanut butter recall of 2007.

It started Thursday morning with a simple press release from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. ConAgra - the company that produces Peter Pan peanut butter - was issuing a recall for some of its jars.

The first thing I thought of was my wife. Miriam has a serious penchant for peanut butter. She'll eat jars by the spoonful - or, in some cases, by the Doritoful.

It's so bad, she's barred the stuff from even entering our house. In fact, if I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I have to keep a jar stashed in my desk at the office - like a closet peanut butterholic trying to hide my needs from my family.

But in recent weeks, she has broken her own rules. Thanks to a buy one, get one free sale at a grocery store in Augusta, she recently brought home four jars of her preferred drug: Peter Pan Whipped peanut butter.

My father chipped in and bought four more (same store, same sale) as Valentine's presents for his daughter-in-law. (Yeah, she needs peanut butter counseling. Quick.)

Out of the eight jars, five were left as my wife grabbed one for a Thursday evening snack. Before she could eat her first spoonful, we checked and found that all five of them contained the dreaded "2111" in the serial number.

I did some internet work and discovered that with all the jars of peanut butter sold since last May, only about 400 folks have gotten sick. Those numbers didn't scare me. In fact, I wondered why there was such a wide-spread recall.

So I got on the phone.

A very nice operator at ConAgra - Trisha, I think her name was - honestly answered my questions - even telling me that several of her callers thought they'd gotten sick from the peanut butter. She also told me to throw away the four existing jars at my house and mail the lids to ConAgra in California for a full refund - even for the shipping.

Almost in tears, my wife agreed to toss the remaining jars. It was like a funeral, with a Hefty bag burial.

Friday morning, her students - who she'd already schooled in the ways of peanut butter addiction - were concerned about her gastrointestinal welfare. Some even said they'd found contaminated jars also.

At The Mirror, we traded stories of found jars. Lynn had a jar of Great Value (which ConAgra helps manufacture). Kristopher - unaware of the recall - made his wife a PBJ sandwich for lunch Friday. Fortunately, she called him to check the serial number before she ate it.

Meanwhile, the peanut butter fiend goes on undeterred. Miriam's counting the days until the next Whipped Peter Pan shipment so she can restock her cupboard.

Choosy moms may choose Jif, but wonderful wives want Peter Pan Whipped.

Web posted on Thursday, February 22, 2007

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