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Sunday, October 18, 2009 - 7:05pm

Peanut Production Up

Peanut producers have had a near record year, processing some 1.1 billion pounds of peanut butter. This, despite a national salmonella outbreak in peanut products resulting in one of the largest food recalls ever.

That salmonella outbreak is blamed for killing nine people nationwide. And while similar food borne illness outbreaks in spinach and tomatoes have lowered demand for those products, peanuts were processed in near record numbers this year. Meanwhile peanut spreads, used in snack crackers, saw only a slight decline for the year.

Those products were recalled in great numbers during the height of the outbreak. At that time, peanut processors lost about 13 million dollars a month in slumping sales, according to several reports. However, sales rebounded within two months of the recall. Overall, despite the high production, sales of peanut products were down about 2.5 % for 2008.