Sunday, January 18, 2009


FDA Peanut Warnings Foretell Apocalypse

Once again, the FDA has gone nuts. In a classic case of regulatory overreach, they have spread warning about salmonella in peanut butter. And you all know what that means….

There will be an end to innovation in the peanut business.

The peanut pipeline, already slowed, will grind to an oily halt.

Life-saving peanuts will not get to nut-cases around the world.

The price of those few surviving peanuts will become prohibitive. Insurance will refuse to shell out for them.

All this is to say nothing about the disaster for little orange crackers.

It is time for those who believe in American enterprise to take a stand. We know where this leads. If they take away our nuts, what will we have left?

Tell this to everyone you know: All nuts have dangers.

(The opinions expressed above do not represent PharmaLittle nor any of the kooks with whom we have ever been associated.)


  1. This issue will, more than likely, lead to costly litigation resulting in “black jar warnings,” which will scare the bejibbers out of folks, with the effect of driving--down to the ground--the sales of these nut manufacturers and, you guessed it… stifle new peanut development.

    It’s a sticky situation and we should stay out this jam.

  2. Thanks you for your support, Anon. Yes, apocalyptic overwarning can be anticipated.

    As for litigation, I hope we will all support preemption as soon as we good guys are able to take over the FDA (again) and (further) gut it from the inside. That is fair and rational policy, obviously in the interest of all citizens.

    Power to the Peanuts!

  3. This from the New York Times:

    "The Kellogg Company, which listed the Peanut Corporation as one of its suppliers, has recalled 16 products. They include the Austin and Keebler brands of peanut butter sandwich crackers and some snack-size packs of Famous Amos peanut butter cookies and Keebler Soft Batch Homestyle peanut butter cookies. Consumers should throw those products away."

    So it's worse than we thought. Not only are nuts in jeopardy, but so are flakes. Thousands of elves are threatened with job loss. Amos is toast.

    When will these regulators stop?!

  4. Dear Justice, I have a legal/ethical question: My nuts are FDA approved. Does that mean that I cannot be held liable for injuries and deaths my products have caused? I am excluding Michigan from my inquiry, because I know they were barred from court many years ago. I am concerned about the rest of the country. Some people think we should be sued, even in Michigan. This is just plain nuts.

  5. Dear Nuts,

    From our perspective, if your nuts have gone through the rigorous and draconian process of FDA approval, and their risks and benefits have been assessed, then they should be immune from civil liability. Indeed, even if approval of your nuts have been approved through fraud or other mispresentation, it is up to the agency - not greedy trial lawyers - to do whatever.

    Of course, in rare instances, that could mean removing your nuts from circulation, which might give you pause. But I wouldn't overly worry about it.

    Your FDA

  6. Help me!

    They provided me with samples of peanut butter for my review and they're just totally overgrowing with the most horrible rancid foul smelling bacteria you can imagine. The company even admits they have a horrible salmonella problem in the actual microbiologic studies but

    I'm been ordered by FDA management to just look at the summaries that says everything's wonderful and then FDA management forces me to write a document that I can review everything in the 500,000 pages of documents in 5 days.

    When I try to raise that I actually found a problem they stuck me in a room with 6 managers and browbeated me and intimidated me over multiple meetings for several days right before the peanut review deadline. When I sent an e-mail with cc to Sen. Grassley about the lack of courtesy I was afforded (you can't say anything specific because then they really come after you) they suspended me without pay and told me they'll feed my kids the stuff if I don't toe the line.


    Salmonella - An FDA peanut butter reviewer

  7. P.S.

    I think they mean it about feeding kids the peanut butter. Our local Congressman previously worked with a law firm that represents the peanut butter lobby. The only individual stocks he owns in in peanut butter. When he was in the state assembly he sponsored bills that all schools had to forcably provide protein to kids at lunch in the form of peanut butter. Plus he's on the local board of the nonprofit parents for school peanut butter, (PSPB), which we know is funded by the peanut butter industry.

    We have no one to turn to.

    Salmonella - An FDA peanut butter reviewer

  8. Just think, whoever blows the whistle on this one will never work for peanuts again, er I mean will never work in the peanut industry again....

  9. Marketing and AdvertisingJanuary 19, 2009 at 2:40 PM

    Please put a hold on our off label peanut marketing until all this salmonella craze blows over. We need to stop production on our peanut perfume and peanut eyelash enhancer. Also put a hold on that thing with the bathtubs. What a mess.
    Where are our people in the FDA? Get them in here. They have some explaining to do.

  10. Sal - OK, here's what to do. Write: "The peanut butter is rancid, but there is no evidence of a problem. Indeed, it may be that these are friendly flora that will boost the immunity of consumers.

    Thus, while there _may_ be something to think about some day, there may also be a miraculous health benefit. This is an important spread that should not be kept away from the American people. Fast track!

    (Later we'll think about thinking about asking for a Phase XXVIII study to see if there's anything going on. For the moment, fuggedaboudit.)

  11. Disagree with Marketing and Ad. This is the time to go all out. Overwhelm those doubts. Neutralize the nay-sayers. Call some Med School Deans and Heads of supermarkets. Get Kid Opinion Leader (Britney's sister?) to slobber all over the stuff. Promote! Promote! Promote!

    For tomorrow may come .....

  12. Message to the FieldJanuary 19, 2009 at 3:08 PM

    Alert to Sales Force!!

    OK, People. Here is how to answer any questions that may arise from Concerned Parents (CPs). Stay on script. Stay on message.

    CP: I hear there's something in the peanut butter.

    You: Natural grown goodness...

    CP: But something not right...

    You: Peannut butter is one of the most nutritious foods there is. And kids love it.

    CP: But something wrong, I mean, dangerous...

    You: Lots of athletes rely on peanut butter to boost their energy when it counts most. Did you know that the first team that climbed Mt. Everest brought peanut butter along.

    CP: But...

    You: That's why PB&J is as American as low-dose aspirin....

    CP: SALMONELLA!!!!!!

    You: Here, try some.....

  13. Anyone who wouldn't want to feed their kid highly nutritious peanut butter, that's packed with protein and other 'good' things is simply a bad parent. Their kids should be taken away from them so they can get the proper nutrition they need.

  14. Pharmalittle - you should have a Twitter feed like Pharmalot did

  15. Anon. Hopefully our crack technical department will know how to do that.

  16. Crackpots in TechnicalJanuary 20, 2009 at 10:21 AM

    We can do that. If you promise to let us out of the basement!
    The only thing we have to eat down here are bunch of peanutbutter crackers you threw down to us last night.
    What gives?

  17. Tech - You crackers are lucky to have a job at all, even an unpaid one. Didn't you hear the speech today? We're in Valley Forge, man.

    So chill. Or twitter.

    As the case may be.

  18. Message To The FieldJanuary 20, 2009 at 12:34 PM

    Field - This just over the transom as reported in the WSJ.

    "Late yesterday, Clif and Luna nutrition bars containing peanut butter were added to the recall list."

    Say that, as far as we know, it's the carob that'll kill you. Carobs are not American, unlike peanuts. This will help.

  19. Click on me for update on peanut product recall.

  20. omg! I think Scott Gottlieb plaigarized your argument for his op-ed in the WSJ yesterday. Except he's talking about drugs or something. If you don't have a subscription, the Health Blog is free but doesn't provide the hyperbolic speculation that can only be found in an original Gottlieb or Pitts.

  21. Permissions Dept. -

    Mme Harpy - Thank you for informing us that "Dr." Gottlieb has - yet again - been stealing our stuff. We have contacted Legal and will pursue this. I assume that, even though "Dr." Gottlieb was once approved by FDA, he is not personally shielded by preemption.


  22. Action Alert!!! It's all going south. The Peanut Coalition must fight back. This the latest from the NYT:

    "Americans should avoid processed foods containing peanut butter, including cookies, cakes, ice cream and crackers, U.S. health officials warn."

    OK, this goes beyond peanut butter. It is an attack on snack food in all forms. It is an attack on birthday parties. It is an attack on late-night noshes. It is an attack on everything really worth doing. Our way of life.

    U.S. Health Officials? Try Osama bin Label. Seize the time! We are the Zaftigs we've been waiting for!

  23. Not to veer too far away from the PB crisis, but I have now read the "opinion" that Mme. Harpy cites. I must say I agree with the "Doc" that no self-respecting organization would even imeagine of doing a comparative efficacy study.

    Comparing Vioxx with Naproxen, for example.

    Simply stupid, deceitful, and misleading. Worthy of our contempt.

  24. Through much investigation we (the victims of salmonella poisoning via peanuts) have found a CRADA between FDA and peanut growers to find a cheaper way to grow peanuts while giving FDA a new way to monitor goober quality. The offending process which is now considered to provide the public with bioequivalent peanuts has resulted in a dangerous +/- 10% swing in peanut quality. There was insufficient testing to exclude the use of the NGP (new growing process) product for some of it's indicated consumers.
    Good luck finding anyone willing to tackle this legally if you have been harmed as the NGP was at the suggestion of FDA.

  25. Side note:

    FDA has demanded a warning for all peanut products that states:
    "You are what you eat. Therefore, being nuts, you are dangerous should not be taken seriously."

  26. No doubt many of you have heard that pet foods, some of which contain PB, are also being pulled from the shelves. So the strangling noose of regulation now victimizes Rover and Fluffy.

    No doubt there are goldfish that consume PB. They are also up the creek without a poodle.

  27. Congratulations on the new site and good spread on this issue.

  28. Thanks, Hazel. We are doing our best to promote peanut butter off label, but we couldn't think of anything that someone hadn't done with peanut butter. Hopefully, someone in Marketing will.

    BTW, when this is all back in the jar - and keep this to yourself - we are planning a massive release of negative info on cheese whiz.

  29. FBI raids peanut plant (click on Peanut brittle for link to story)

  30. This is for the birds...

    FDA recalls are on Twitter, here:

    A recall has been issued for certain lots of Scotts wild bird food:

    Click on Peanut brittle for an update on recalls in Texas.

  31. PeanutGate does not seem to get better. And I wonnder why it's FDA twittering and not the birds.

    It's a strange, strange world we live in.

  32. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, "...contaminated foods sit like ticking time bombs on store shelves and kitchen cabinets..."

    Click on "Peanut brittle" to read the full story.


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