In a statement issued this morning, the FDA has announced that this year’s global peanut crop has been contaminated by a little-known toxic fungus. The fungus, stultus aprillis, originated in the Southeastern United States earlier this month. Though the U.S. only contributes 10% of the world’s peanut production, the fungus quickly spread to South America and Asia via overseas shipments.
The FDA has confirmed that peanut products currently on shelves are safe for consumption, but all production has been shut down for the remainder of 2015 while the fungus is being eradicated. This means that for the next 8 months any product containing peanuts, peanut butter, or peanut oil will be unavailable for purchase.
The ramifications of this ban will be relatively insignificant for big names like Hershey and Lance, companies whose products contain only a fraction of peanuts. Companies like J.M. Smucker (the makers of Jif) will enter 2016 relatively unharmed as they are divisions of major corporations.
The real danger is that small, independently owned makers of peanut butter will not be able to survive the 8-month hiatus.
Customers are already scrambling to stock up on peanut products before it is too late. By this time tomorrow, most grocery stores and large food vendors predict that they will be sold out of peanut butter, peanut candies, and trail mixes.
The makers of non-peanut nut butters have wasted no time to use this opportunity to capitalize on the absence of peanut butter in the food industry. Other individuals who are fortunate enough to already own a large supply of peanut butter have begun selling jars for exorbitant sums on eBay and Craiglist. Some peanut lovers are already dubbing this the Peanutpocalypse, or The Global Peanut Famine of 2015.
On the bright side, we can be thankful that this Peanutpocalypse did not occur while Elvis Presley was alive. We can only speculate as to how much a year without peanut butter and banana sandwiches would have affected his creativity and ability to perform.
It is also said that Ernest Hemingway was a long-time fan of peanut butter and onion sandwiches. And in the words of the great writer himself, “April Fools, y’all.”
Go ahead and treat yourself to some PB today. You deserve it after that scare: