Spotted on the D train: one of the National Peanut Board’s ads bearing its new slogan, “Peanuts: Energy for the Good Life.” The ad could be for cell phones or anti-depression medication. It depicts a young man in a suit slumped on what appears to be a New York subway bench, clutching his phone as he supposedly struggles with the dilemma of whether or not to phone his love interest. Peanuts, it says, give you “energy to make up your mind.”
The crisis-management ad campaign was a top priority for the NPB and the peanut farmers it represents, whose industry was slammed after salmonella-tainted peanut products caused the biggest food product recall in US history, killing 9 people and sickening some 1,400. But a disturbing piece in The Washington Post today reveals that no real changes have been made to the way peanut facilities are inspected since the recall. The NPB says it’s mission is not only to promote but also to conduct research within its industry. It’s the FDA’s job to safeguard peanut plants, but let’s hope the NPB isn’t spending all its cash on campaigning. If it doesn’t apply more pressure onto the FDA to overhaul food safety inspection practices, it’ll take more than subway ads to turn us back on to those little legumes.