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Kingston firm’s product ‘perfect’

KINGSTON – Peanut butter supplied by a local firm to leading ice cream and snack food makers has not been implicated as a source of salmonella poisoning being reported nationwide. The company’s owner said his product is thoroughly tested before delivery, with documentation of its safety accompanying each shipment.

Bruce Gutterman wants consumers to know that his pourable peanut butter is “perfect” and is not used in any of the products being pulled from store shelves in response to a reported six deaths and hundreds of illnesses in 43 states.

The Food and Drug Administration has identified the source of contamination as peanut paste and peanut butter produced by Peanut Corp. of America at its Blakely, Ga. processing plant.

Even though his product is innocent, Gutterman has spent several frantic days making sure his customers know it’s safe.

“We’ve been sending out letters of assurance” to customers, Gutterman said, pointing out that the Flavors “R” Specialty product has not been associated with the supplies that appear to have caused the illnesses and reminding them that it is regularly tested for contamination.

“Not one drop of product is ever shipped without micro testing,” he said, with test reports accompanying each shipment. “Our paper trail is easy to find.”

More than 125 products have been recalled, federal health officials said. The list ranges from goodies like cookies and ice cream to energy bars.

While some of the products are similar to those made with Flavors “R” Specialty ingredients, Gutterman said none are the brands he supplies. He declined to name the brands for competitive purposes, but said they primarily are ice cream and peanut butter-filled pretzels.

While he doesn’t deny the seriousness of the outbreak, Gutterman is dismayed that the FDA initially recommended avoiding all peanut products.

“They gave a blanket scare and said don’t touch any of this stuff,” he said.

The FDA has set up a database of recalled peanut products at http://tinyurl.com/8s3mwr.

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