Food & Drink

This soy nut butter caused a 12-state E. coli outbreak, yet you can still find it for sale

Peanut butter substitute I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter caused an E. coli outbreak last winter that touched 12 states, including Florida, and caused kidney failure in at least nine people, according to the Centers for Disease Control. SoyNut Butter recalled all its I.M. Healthy products March. 7.

Yet you can still find I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter for sale via several outlets. Until last month, that list included

That’s illegal.

The FDA said something about that Friday night after being alerted by consumers and food safety attorney Bill Marler.

Part of an FDA statement posted to its website read, “Retailers cannot legally offer for sale and consumers should not purchase any flavors of I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter products, including spreads and granolas.

“The FDA learned that some distributors are still selling the products in their possession and these products are being sold through online retailers and in storefront locations. As it learns of these products being offered for sale, the FDA notifies the retailer that these products cannot legally be sold. The agency is working swiftly to locate any remaining products to ensure they are no longer available to consumers.”

Anyone seeing I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter or any recalled product remaining up for sale can report it to their region’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator.

You could find all varieties of SoyNut Butter sold on until Friday night. Some supermarket chain websites, including Publix, still advertise it as being for sale at its stores. A Marler blog post from Sept. 26 showed several jars of recalled SoyNut Butter still stacked on a shelf in Redwood, California’s Lucky’s Market.

Marler is also the attorney for some of the plaintiffs suing SoyNut Butter Company and manufacturer Dixie Dew. SoyNut Butter filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in May. The FDA suspended Dixie Dew’s food facility registration in March after several disgusting reports from March inspections.

E. coli bacteria can cause dehydration and bloody diarrhea within eight days of exposure. It also can cause HUS, hemolytic uremic syndrome, a form of kidney failure most common in children under 5 years old and older adults. In some cases, infection can be fatal. Of the 32 people infected in this outbreak, 26 were under the age of 18.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal