Cooking and Food Health

Toxic Peanut Butter

Cancer causing toxins in peanut butter…what next? They are more correctly called: aflatoxins. Peanuts, and certain other crops such as corn contain the highest risks of aflatoxin contamination, because they […]

Peanuts in a BowlCancer causing toxins in peanut butter…what next? They are more correctly called: aflatoxins. Peanuts, and certain other crops such as corn contain the highest risks of aflatoxin contamination, because they attract the molds Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. Aflatoxins are the most toxic, naturally occuring carcinogens known. Yikes!

FYI–“Afla”toxin takes its name from the short hand of  its causative agent, the mold  A. flavus, A. fla.

A little side trip

I have always wondered why so many people had peanut sensitivities. But I reasoned my doubts away, thinking peanuts were just highly allergic, like milk. After all, there are so many lactose intolerant people out there, right?

Well, a few months ago, we were introduced to the wonders and health benefits of drinking raw milk, and educated by Mark McAfee on why lactose intolerant people can drink raw milk without any reactions whatsoever. It’s as simple as this: in raw milk, the lactase enzyme hasn’t been killed in the pasteurization process. This enzyme is necessary for many people to be able to break down the milk sugars they drink. Very exciting for certain members of our extended family who haven’t been able to drink store milk for decades! Believe me, they are cured and can drink raw milk all day long now with no adverse reactions.

So I revisited my questions on the peanut butter problem. See, God stuck me with this “inquiring mind” that just won’t stop. I can’t help it. And here’s what I  found out. The question is…

Do you really want to know?

Lest you think I’m basing this on internet drivel–please verify it all at the Cornell University website where you will learn wa-ay more than I have room for in this post!

The FAO, Food and Agricultural Organization, estimates that 25% of the world’s crops are affected by mycotoxins, of which aflatoxins are the most notorious.

Aflatoxins are sometimes detected in milk, cheese, corn, peanuts, cottonseed, nuts, almonds, figs, spices, and animal feeds . Milk, eggs, and meat products are occasionally contaminated because of the animal consumption of aflatoxin-contaminated feed.

Most people agree that aflatoxins should be considered very dangerous, and not at all allowable in food, if detectable. However, the United States FDA has set the allowable concentration for aflatoxins in human foods at 20 ppb (parts per billion). Foreign markets let far less get past them, allowing only 4-15 ppb. Animal feed can contain up to 100 ppb, which as we saw previously, sometimes allows for contamination of our dairy products and eggs. Because these molds are colorless, and don’t break down in cooking, it’s difficult to know if our foods are contaminated in these ways. And who knows what slow and steady exposure to aflatoxins will lead to over many years time?

SHOCKER: Evidence exists that Iraq used aflatoxins in their biological weapons–specifically in bombs and warheads! Agh!They evidently think that aflatoxins pose somewhat of a danger to humans!

But back to peanut butter…

Supposedly humans have a high tolerance for aflatoxin exposure, but I’m not willing to take that risk, when the lab results have shown such carcinogenic effects on animals. And not when the experts are also saying that children are  at risk from chronic exposure (pb&j anyone?), with such side effects as stunted growth and delayed development.

So you might want to check these things out for yourself.

Personally, our family loves sunbutter made from sunflower seeds. Almond and cashew butters are some other delicious nut butters, great with apple slices, in smoothies, or spread on romaine lettuce leaves and then drizzled with a bit of raw honey! Mmm! We haven’t yet tried to substitute these for peanut butter in cookies…but it’s on our can’t-wait-to-try-this list!

P.S. Since I brought up nut butters, it might be of interest to clarify that peanuts aren’t actually nuts, they are legumes… ;O)

12 replies on “Toxic Peanut Butter”

Oh ugh! Do you know how much PB a family my size goes through? It is a STAPLE. No way could I afford those “healthier” products at that rate. Some things I just have to write off trying to cut out I guess. 🙁

I’m SORRY guys. But, in Anne’s case, I warned her not to read this post!

One of my friends buys organic almond butter in huge buckets from our wholesale buying club. I think she said when she divvies up the contents it’s equal to 14 quart jars…the bucket is $127, and that figures to $9/quart. A quart is a hefty sized amount of product for that price…I know the sun butter we buy through the same buying club used to figure to be about $5 something per jar. It’s a typical peanut butter sized container. Still…I know.

Aflatoxins are more prolific in grind-your-own peanut butters–such as some health food stores sell. This is because as the peanuts sit around, the mold grows. So it’s better to buy packaged peanut butter, made from peanuts grown in arid climates (less likely for mold problems)…less chance for contamination. I haven’t done the homework on which PB brands this would include though.

Of course, you could add peanuts (also known as “goober peas”) to the list of seeds to plant in your garden this year. Then you could grow your own and make your own ground peanut butter. If you can manage to harvest them during a dry late summer, your aflatoxin numbers should be almost non-existent. Use them up fresh, don’t shelve them, and you should be just fine. However, a super wet year will likely mean molds present. While sandy soils grow the best peanuts, and Georgia is well known for its peanuts, here in the Midwest you can grow them in your backyard garden. We hope to plant some this year after not raising them for several years. Better prices than those quoted and more fun to raise than buying them. Great for kids to dig out, crack open and munch, right in the field.

Farmer John–peanuts grow well in the Mid-west?!?! How interesting. That will be a treat to try in your garden! ;O) I’m not sure I’ll ever see dirt again. Mud, yes. :'(

No, Bethanie, but it’s a great place to buy from and to learn from. Mark McAfee is the expert behind that site, and he is the one in the raw milk documentary that we love and learned SO much from. It’s called The Whole Truth about Milk: Raw vs Pasteurized. Wow. Since you live in a state where it’s against the law to buy raw milk, ordering from his store would be a good option! Or getting your own cow… ;O)

I am a fairly fit 66 year old male. I LOVE peanuts and peanut butter. I have been feeling toxic recently and have been on moderate reduction of dairy and bread. So what do I do? I start eating peanut (organic to the core) which my wife is not allergic to. I went through this in my early 50’s and realized that beer and peanuts (especially free ones) at a PUB made me feel very hung over the next day… even after only a couple of beer. When I stopped eating peanuts… hangover GONE. You would think I would remember this about peanuts… but I am so busy with my business, etc that I forget. Well this morning, I remembered. I think this may be the cure for my toxic feeling… aching muscles, etc. We’ll see. It’s 15 June 2012… I’ll keep you posted.

That’s interesting, Gary! I’m sure interested to see what your verdict is after a few weeks! It may take more than just axing peanut butter, you might need to do some type of detox. Dr. Schulze products might be a place to start looking for that, my friends and I have had good results! The other thing that helped me immensely with detoxing, was getting my mercury fillings out of my mouth. I had 4 small ones, but getting them out changed my health drastically. I used to have migraines 2 times a week or whenever I had caffeine (big trigger) but I haven’t even had the slightest of headaches since the mercury was taken out. The other wonderful thing, is that I no longer get carsick as a passenger. I’ve had horrible motion sickness issues since I was 7 years old, and I mean horrible. Anyway, after the merc came out, I detoxed with chlorella, it was very simple and effective and I feel so good now. I hope that you find the answers for your aching body, be sure to update us!

Hi Mary, love this post about toxic peanut butter. Hopefully you have tried making peanut butter-free cookies since your post. If not, I would love it if you checked out the recent post on my blog and tried the “peanut butter” cookies.


Hey Susie, I’ll be right over! And yes, we’ve long since been using sunbutter in our fave pb cookie recipe, and it works great! Thanks for stopping by today!

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