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Peanut Butter Recall Includes Organic, Natural Clif and Luna Bars

Clif bars included in peanut butter recallI’m usually not phased by food recalls, including the recent peanut butter recall, because they rarely affect natural food companies.  I don’t eat Little Debbie crap, and I certainly don’t eat Keebler products.

Today, however, I discovered a natural, organic product I occasionally eat on the peanut butter recall list: Clif Bars.

The company has issued the following statement about the peanut butter recall:

On January 19, 2009, we announced a voluntary recall of 14 U.S and 4 Canadian products including CLIF Bar, CLIF Builder’s, CLIF MOJO, CLIF Kid Organic ZBaR and LUNA Bar, in the U.S. and Canada because the peanut butter in those products was sourced, for a limited period of time, from the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). PCA is a manufacturer and supplier of peanut butter for many food companies and manufacturers.

PCA is under investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a recent Salmonella outbreak thought to be caused by tainted peanut butter. In light of this investigation, and with an abundance of caution, Clif Bar & Company has enacted a voluntary recall. We take the health and safety of our consumers very seriously.

The plant responsible for the salmonella contamination has laid off workers and shut down, but I doubt they will receive the death sentence like Chinese dairy executives involved in the melamine scandal.

The following products are affected by the peanut butter recall:

  • CLIF BAR Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch
  • CLIF BAR Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • CLIF BAR Peanut Toffee Buzz
  • CLIF Builder’s Peanut Butter
  • CLIF Kid Organic ZBaR Peanut Butter
  • LUNA Nutz Over Chocolate
  • LUNA Peanut Butter Cookie
  • MOJO Honey Roasted Peanut
  • MOJO Mixed Nuts
  • MOJO Mountain Mix
  • MOJO Peanut Butter Pretzel
  • MOJO Dipped Chocolate Peanut
  • MOJO Dipped Peanut Butter and Jelly
  • MOJO Dipped Fruit and Nut

In Canada, the following 4 products are included in the peanut butter recall:

  • CLIF® BAR Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch / Brisures de Chocolat aux Arachides Croquants
  • CLIF BAR Crunchy Peanut Butter / Beurre d’ Arachide Croquant
  • CLIF® BAR Peanut Toffee Buzz® / Toffee et Arachides
  • CLIF Builder’s Peanut Butter / Beurre d’Arachide

I sometimes grab a CLIF BAR Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch for a midday snack, but not anymore. My kids enjoy them too, so it’s time to scourge our cabinets to make sure we don’t have any of these potentially salmonella contaminated peanut butter products in our home.


  1. The PCA situation reminds me of Menu Foods and the April 2007 tainted pet food recall. That huge company produced the cheap and the expensive food in the same vats. I am more disturbed that an “organic” product manufacturer occasionally buys from PCA. I thought peanuts were one of the heaviest users of pesticides. The terms natural and organic mean almost nothing now.
    How can the buyer beware if the labels are not backed up by enforced regulations.

  2. I, too, was shocked about this and discovered that PCA does, indeed, produce a variety of organic peanut butter ingredients. The one that got me was Larabars — (I wrote about it on Supereco) — would Lara have ever used this raw ingredient? I wondered. Then I discovered that General Mills had bought Larabars. I wonder what CLIF bars’ excuse is. Trust is all an illusion.

  3. Here’s a link to the FDA list, it is long.


  4. This is but one example of the risks of using extensive supply chains over which companies like Kellogg have little control. Utilizing outside companies such as the Peanut Corporation of America to supply ingredients for a branded product not only makes it more difficult to ensure quality control, but also creates enormous complications for the branded-product company trying to respond in a crisis. For those interested, I encourage you to read my blog post about these difficulties on BulletProofBlog.com and share your thoughts: http://www.bulletproofblog.com/2009/01/21/peanut-butter-recall-part-ii/

  5. I wanted to let your readers know that all Late July Organic Snacks products are SAFE to eat. Our peanut butter is supplied by a company in New Mexico, Sunland, Inc and is unequivocally NOT involved in this recall. We would also invite you to visit our website for more detailed information about Sunland or our ingredient sourcing policies in general. As a mother of two young sons and the president of Late July, I believe that everyone has the right to know exactly where their food is coming from. If you ever have any questions about any of Late July’s ingredients email us at info@latejuly or call 888-85-SNACK anytime. Thank you.

  6. Healthy Valley (Lovin Oven) Organic Chewy Granola Bars too.


  7. A couple more: “Safeway said some of the products it makes, including Ready Pack Eating Right Kids Apples with Peanut Butter and Orchard Valley Harvest’s Organic Bark Peanut Butter Cookies and Cream”

  8. I haven’t seen anything to suggest that PCA produced any organic products. How can Clif use the “USDA Organic” seal and list no non-organic peanut ingredients on the label if they are using PCA’s peanut products (http://www.clifbar.com/food/products_clif_kid_zbar click on the Peanut Butter bar link)? Clif should hope nobody goes after them in a class-action for deceptive and fraudulent claims.

  9. Hey, I’m in agreement with most of you here. I was very surprised that Clif/Luna were involved in the recall. I’ve been trying to find out if PCA did offer organic products but there seems to be almost no way to contact this company.

    Among the peanut butter/snack products involved, several of them are supposedly organic. Besides the ones already mentioned, Whole Foods’ “Carob Energee Nuggets”, and Parker Organic Cookies.


  10. I am completely disappointed in the fact that CLIF BAR lies about using organic ingredients, both on their label and on their website. As if the organic industry doesn’t have enough difficulties gaining credibility -this greatly destroys the confidence people have in organic products. The rule is if more people bought organic, the price would go down, demand up and the rules and regulations would “clean up”, however, this goes against this rule, instead CLIF BAR sold more, then made a cheaper-less-quality-product, but sold it as organic and increased its profit. Shame on you. I will no longer purchase any CLIF BAR products (and I used quite a lot between the bars and shots). I feel betrayed.

  11. I am so angry about the entire recall situation, but in particular that Luna Bars, which are advertised as ‘70% Organic,’ are involved. Are businesses in this country completely without conscience? My high-school freshman daughter eats the ‘Nuts Over Chocolate’ Luna bars every afternoon during school, and has been complaining of stomach cramps; I told her she was probably ovulating. I am absolutely furious, and have every intention of rooting out the source. It’s one thing when an adult buys a product to consume on their own, but it is an entirely different story when we buy an ‘organic’ product for our children, and expect it to be safe.

  12. I am wondering why it is that people are so up in arms about this? I am a mom, but I also understand that “organic” does not translate to safe just becauses it is “organic”. talk with my friend who got ecoli from eating organically grown spinach 2 and a half years ago. There is a risk to every thing – regardless of how it is grown. Also, Clif Bars don’t claim to be 100 percent organic, they state they are 70 percent organic – look at the list of ingredients to see if they are actually organic. as for the labeling issue – blame the USDA and those who make the rules for the labeling issues. That has been an on-going issue since my husband worked for greenpeace over 10 years ago – what is organic, what can claim to be organic and how is it regulated (and what about those that are organic, but don’t pay for the right to label as such). If you are really concerned, read the list of products and the identifying information (expiration or process dates).

  13. Richard/Ed. says:

    I have read that PCA used cheaper, pesticide-sprayed peanuts from Mexican farms. And minimum-wage workers etc. Which is why they were so popular

    I called and spoke to CostCo.
    And later, the Cliff Bar representative today. They have a recall hot-line setup. But the girl was just reading from a script. She said that they do not use PCA but were undertaking a recall “as a precaution”. Why, did they use PCA or not? This makes no sense.

    She had no answers.

  14. Clif Bar’s employees probably still think these bars/products represent top quality organic food (see Lisa’s comment), so the company will continue to sell using the organic message. Why? In doing some research online it became clear through the stories I read that the switch to ‘organics’ in 2003 helped propel Clif Bar from a small, mobile food company to a large company owning dominant market share in the energy bar market. Was that growth, which was reported as natural/organic, based on lies? The public and this former Clif Bar, LUNA buyer deserve to know the truth.

  15. I’ve been similarly affected by the recall and I feel very betrayed by Clif. I would think that a company that ‘cares about food’ would think twice about sourcing from a plant that supplies a bunch of high-volume, low-market brands. Now that I’m asking myself where their *other* ingredients are coming from, I will never buy from them again.

  16. As someone posted, organic labeling does not mean 100% organic, and if you look at the ingredients list on both of the bars mentioned (Clif and Mojo) they do have peanut/peanut products that are not organic. The newest one today, however is Cascadian Farms, which does indicate on their ingredients list that the peanuts are organic. I realize that organic doesn’t == safe, but would think that because of the smaller processing size and manufacturers their would be a lower risk generally. Did this peanut company produce organic peanuts or were manufacturers allowed to deviate at times from organic without documenting on the label due to rules?

  17. An email I received from Clif and Luna, which has earned back all my trust:

    “In the midst of this recall, I can confirm wholeheartedly that nothing has changed in our Food Philosophy. We remain committed to using high quality, all-natural and organic ingredients in everything we make.

    Our priority now is to look at our business practices to better understand the broader implications of the recall and indentify areas where we can raise the bar in quality and safety. It’s important to recognize we used our organic ingredients processed at the PCA facility only intermittently. We have no verification that any recalled products contain Salmonella. However, we’re taking precautionary steps to ensure consumer safety and trust in light of the United States Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ongoing investigation of Peanut Corporation of America (PCA).

    The peanuts used in the PCA peanut butter were organic. They were sourced by another certified organic peanut supplier, NOT by PCA. PCA is an OCIA International-certified organic manufacturer. The USDA administers the National Organic Program (NOP) and gives accreditation to certifying agencies such as OCIA. These agencies certify producers and follow the regulations as set in the NOP which includes certain handling requirements for ingredients and facility procedures like being subjected to annual inspections to renew compliance and review of documentation.

    Clif did not – and never does – use “institutional” peanut butter.All of our organic peanut butter is prepared based on our unique recipes and made in our own distinct batches. The PCA organic peanut butter was no exception. Our peanuts and peanut butter must meet our high standards, get approved by third-party quality auditors, pass rigorous Clif standards and food safety tests conducted by independent quality assurance labs. We test all peanut ingredients as they arrive and conduct microbiological tests on final products. We also taste-test every batch of product before we ship them to stores.”

  18. I’ve been buying organic for 20 years. I don’t trust the label any more. Too much money and incentive to cheat. Too many loosely regulated overseas suppliers. I’ m constantly searching for US sourced organics, and won’t buy unless I see labels indicating such. ConAgra, General Mills (GM!), and Kelloggs have bought up many of my favorite brands over the years. Profit takes precedence over ethics. Whole Foods has become a caricature since they went public, and now have to answer to shareholders and accountants.

    As for Clif and Luna – look here;

    want to see who owns what? – look here:

    Whole Foods and imported Chinese products:

    Dean foods and organic fraud;

    General imported food warning

    Give a donation to the Cornucopia Institute if you can.

    Best to all, and stay safe and healthy.


  1. […] Would I buy this product? Yes.  Even though I do buy these products for my children, I do have some reservations about the Clif Bar company following last year’s peanut butter salmonella recall. […]

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