Peanut butter saga: Thokoman Foods say their products are safe as Woolies recalls ice cream

Thokoman Foods said on Saturday that consumers need not panic as their peanut butter products are safe to consume. Image via the Thokoman Food website

Thokoman Foods said on Saturday that consumers need not panic as their peanut butter products are safe to consume. Image via the Thokoman Food website

Published Feb 24, 2024


One of South Africa’s biggest peanut butter producers, Thokoman Foods, has told consumers not to panic and assured that their products were safe to eat, amid the recent peanut butter related product recalls.

The latest product recall, which was announced on Friday, was Woolworths’ house brand peanut butter dairy ice cream, which contained aflatoxin levels that exceeded the legal limit.

Thokoman Foods produces peanut butter for the local and export markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Middle East and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), under the Thokoman, Goodylife, Goody Brand and a variety of house brands for major retailers. The company has no affiliation to Woolworths.

The peanut butters come in a wide assortment of varieties, from smooth, crunchy and no salt/sugar and local natural spreads.

The company was founded in 1999 as a family-run business and has been manufacturing peanut butter for 24 years.

“We are the largest producer of peanut butter in the country, but Thokoman is the 3rd largest brand in the country). Our revenue is 100% based on peanut butter,” David Sieff, head of marketing at Thokoman told IOL on Saturday.

The company employs around 150 South Africans across factory and functional departments.

When questioned on how the company maintains their stringent controls on safety, they said that they use five steps that ensure the quality of their products.

“The five step quality system that Thokoman follows for aflatoxin control of a consignment starts with our supplier audit and goes through three tests of the peanuts (pre, during and post manufacturing) and only when results are compliant, does the consignment get approved to be utilised for production.

“The process ends with testing in our certified lab with state-of-the-art equipment for finished goods prior to being released for sale, and declared fit for human consumption,” according to a statement.

“As a final quality and adherence check, the finished packed peanut butter approved for sale by our lab, is then sent externally to an approved third party lab for aflatoxin compliance,” said Sieff.

When asked how the recall has impacted their business, the company said they were more concerned about the the impact on the category.

“It’s important that consumer sentiment remains positive, and they continue to enjoy and trust their favourite snack,” Sieff said.

He said most large-scale manufacturers have good testing protocols and certification processes in place to mitigate against a product going to consumers that don’t meet the required standard set by Department of Health.

“Because of this the focus on quality ingredients, production hygiene and traceability of finished goods is always top of mind,“ he added.


On Friday, Woolworths recalled the produced peanut butter dairy ice cream with immediate effect due to the ice cream containing aflatoxin levels that “exceed the legal limit”.

This concerned many consumers and raised several questions on what aflatoxins are and the severity of the case.

Woolworths has assured members of the public that only the peanut butter ice cream recalled was affected and said their other house brand products containing peanut butter remain 100% safe for consumption.

IOL News