Peanut Butter is OK at Atkinson

By Christel Phillips

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE)- Wednesday, federal officials announced a recall of all products containing peanut paste or peanut oil produced over the past two years at a Georgia plant at the center of the current Salmonella outbreak. In a briefing, the FDA safety officials said the plant owner of Peanut Corporation of America agreed to the recall.

The fears over salmonella and peanut butter have encouraged Atkinson Candy Company to get the word out to customers-- their candy is safe. We go behind the scenes in to see why Atkinson has such faith in the safety of their product.

Atkinson Candy Company has been making candy since 1932 and selling it worldwide. Yes, they use peanut butter, but you won't find any threat of Salmonella, or any other bacteria. Company officials say their product is safe from the peanut butter scare.

President and Owner of Atkinson Candy, Eric Atkinson says, "The FDA guidelines have always been stringent on food safety in this country and its up to a manufacturer to maintain good manufacturing practices, we certainly do."

So far, one company in Georgia is linked to the Salmonella peanut butter recall.

Atkinson Candy is not worried because they do things differently.

To prevent Salmonella or any other contamination the company takes a 2500 pound bag of peanuts, dry roast them at a temperature of 290 degrees to make their own peanut butter.

Atkinson adds, "That process alone is what is known as a kill step which would kill anything associated with raw peanuts so when they come out their as clean as a whistle."

The process of making their own peanut butter reduces the risk of contamination. Plus, the push for cleanliness, and biological testing, are mandatory requirements. With changing times, bringing in the best technology to ensure safety is crucial.

"We have in place a new lab, quality assurance lab and a person to man that lab, making sure everything is done the way it should be," says Atkinson.

So, if you must have your Chick-O-Stick Candy, don't worry neither the peanut butter nor the taste has changed.

Atkinson confidently says, "The Chick-O-Stick is still made in the same way when your grandparents were eating when they were kids it has the same amount of peanut butter in it, so they're just as good as they used to be.

The American Peanut Council has a list of companies that are not effected by the FDA recall.  Just click here to view those companies.