Fact Check: Photo Of Peanut Butter Packaged 'Loose' Is NOT From Canada

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Photo Of Peanut Butter Packaged 'Loose' Is NOT From Canada Not Canada

Does this photo of bulk peanut butter packaged on plastic foam trays and covered with plastic wrap show how peanut butter is packaged and sold in Canada? No, that's not true: This photo shows bulk peanut butter for sale in an unnamed shop in Trinidad and Tobago. This is not the standard way for peanut butter to be packaged in Trinidad and Tobago today, and it may be a food safety violation, but in the past it was not uncommon for peanut butter to be sold by weight and packaged in a grease-proof paper wrapper, especially in small neighborhood groceries.

The photo originated as a Facebook post by a man from the dual-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Within a day, copies of the photo were circulating with different captions. One example is this Facebook post (archived here) from July 11, 2021, with the caption, "Aight where my maple leaf homies at? I need some confirmation." The text in the image reads:

i just learned that canadians actually buy their peanut butter like this and i'm so angry

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Jul 14 15:24:59 2021 UTC)

This photo does not show a package of loose peanut butter in Canada. Another post on Twitter from May 29, 2021, claims that this is "Ohio style peanut butter," but that's not true, either. The photo shows a nonstandard, but not unheard of, way of selling peanut butter in Trinidad and Tobago. Lead Stories identified an additional Facebook post from November 2015, also from Trinidad and Tobago, showing loose peanut butter packaged as in the original photo.

The original photo was posted to Facebook on May 28, 2021 by a man whose profile says he is from Trinidad and Tobago. The caption says:

A few weeks ago, a bredren of mine made a wild claim. Real 'out there' claim.
But... it's the internet. People say all kinds of crazy shit here.
But this was a good fella. Somebody I know since primary school. Short khaki pants and snatty nose days. And he was always a decent fella. Not really somebody to say outlandish things.
But this bredren come on Patrick Manning internet and say that a grocery in Arima was selling LOOSE PEANUTBUTTER.
I didn't believe him inno.
Weeks went by and I thought he was on shit and just being a clown.
Today he brought receipts and I hadda formally apologize Dwight Austin
From his own story it is clear that this practice of selling loose peanut butter in Trinidad and Tobago is not standard. Many people commenting on this post shared memories of buying loose peanut butter. Most recalled the peanut butter was wrapped in a grease-proof or waxed paper wrapper -- not packaged as shown in the photo. One woman shared a photo of some loose peanut butter she had just purchased. The peanut butter is wrapped in paper and then in a clear plastic bag with a price sticker dated May 26, 2021. The price per pound in Trinidad Tobago dollars, $33.50, is close to the price shown in the original photo, $35.45. This exchanges to roughly $5 in the U.S.
LoosePeanutbutter02.jpg
(Source: Facebook comment screenshot taken on Wed Jul 14 16:25:12 2021 UTC)
After the post went viral, St. Kitts and neighboring island Nevis -- which are their own country -- investigated potential food safety violations. The findings of the St. Kitts inspectors don't rule out that Trinidad shops could be selling loose peanut butter nor does it verify if this is against the law there. The town of Arima mentioned in the May 28, 2021, post is on the island of Trinidad.

In a statement on Saturday, the Consumer Affairs Department said: 'Our Complaints and Investigation Officers have conducted several site inspections in relation to the attached photo and wishes to alert the public that this item is not being offered for sale at any of the establishments mentioned in several Facebook posts.

'The St. Kitts Consumer Affairs Department commends the general public for their vigilance and encourages persons to continue reporting such food safety violations to the Ministry of Health and the Consumer Affairs Department.'

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Southeastern Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


 

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