The facts about peanut butter, pesticides and carcinogens

Real Food Recipes

Peanut butterWho doesn’t love peanut butter!? Minus those unfortunate individuals with nut allergies who do not get to experience its creamy greatness (my sincere apologies), I’ve never met a single soul who doesn’t love consuming this wonderful concoction, even my dog. Thanks, George Washington Carver!

Some of the fun facts about peanut butter: it is packed with protein and has been shown to decrease the risk of type-2 diabetes.

The not-so-fun facts about peanut butter:

  1. Peanuts are actually legumes and unlike nuts (which have hard shells) have soft, porous shells, which contaminants (fertilizers, pesticides and molds) can permeate and reach the peanut itself. Like all nuts, due to the high fat content of peanuts, they act as little sponges and soak those pesticides right up.
  2. In the US, more than 99% of peanut farms use conventional farming practices including the use of fungicide, as mold is a common affliction among peanut crops.
  3. The carcinogen aflatoxin is produced by naturally occurring fungus in the soil where foods like peanuts are grown. Natural peanut butters may contain more aflatoxin than commercially processed brands since fungicide is not used in their production.

What these facts mean for you: they should not discourage you from buying organic peanut butter. In fact, you should buy organic peanut butter to avoid pesticides (which permeate the porous shells). However, please remember to always refrigerate your peanut butter to prevent aflatoxin from growing. Fortunately, all commercially produced peanut butters – both organic and non-organic – must be tested for aflatoxin levels.

I am going to stick with my organic peanut butter and be conscious about keeping it refrigerated  and may try to start using almond butter as a substitute more often. (On a side note, I also like a buy peanut butter in a glass jar to avoid chemicals in plastics. I’m sure this is no surprise!)

However, if you are particularly concerned about aflatoxins consider buying Arrowhead Mills Organic Peanut Butter, which claims to be completely aflatoxin-free.


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  1. I live in Africa (Mozambique), buy fresh peanuts, boil them in water with a tad of sea salt, and then roast them in the oven until they are crunchy. I am quite sure that the only fertilizer is the peelings of vegtables and fruits. No one uses pesticides. Rarely do I find a peanut that tastes mustybut on occasion I do. Do I need to be concerned about aflatoxin? How do you test for it? Thank you!

  2. Just because it’s “organic” doesn’t mean there’s no pesticides. They’re organic pesticides instead and equally dangerous. Cyanide is organic, would you eat that?

  3. Aflatoxin is a byproduct of fungi that grow on the peanuts. After the peanuts are roasted and ground into butter, it is impossible for the fungi to continue growing but the aflatoxins remain. Therefore it is unnecessary to refrigerate peanut butter, unless you want to avoid fungus growing on your peanut butter, which I have never seen happen.

  4. I use glass jar almond butter instead.

    I wanted to talk about my utter disgust with what is happening in the market with the (cooking) oils. sic

    What kind of a demented ignoramus takes perfectly good olive, seseme or grapeseed oil grown with the utmost care and integrity and puts it in a PLASTIC BOTTLE! Sure, it makes it easier to move — but have you tasted the pollution?! I use the oils to brush my teeth with etc. It tastes like you are putting melted hard plastic into your mouth — and you actually are!

    There is only one manufacturer represented in each store that has glass bottles. I have been observing and noticing this. Let’s send them a clear BOYCOTTING THE BOTTLE MESSAGE!

    This is a disgusting trend straight from the NWO.