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BOSTON, Mass. (CAP) - As concern grows over peanut butter-related products tainted with salmonella, a new study suggests that increasing numbers of American children are being forced to eat deli meat-laden sandwiches as their lunch alternative. The findings support positive economic indicators for the deli meat industry.
"The economic ramifications of the peanut butter crisis are large and growing larger," said economist Harvey Dittmer. "First, deli meat. Next, fruits and vegetables. How long before children lose faith in the system?
"President Obama needs to assure America's children he's working in their best interests," added Dittmer, "or he can kiss all those nice letters and well wishes goodbye."
The Obama administration has not formally announced plans to intervene in the peanut butter situation, but sources at the White House indicate the first lady has had her work cut out for her trying to find something for Malia and Sasha to eat for lunch. Rumors that the president has authorized the purchase of black market peanut butter from China for his family remain unfounded.
"There is no scandal at the Obama lunch table," said new White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. "If you're looking for a conspiracy, how about focusing on the sudden influx of deli meat lobbyists showing up at the Capitol?"
People holding signs reading such things as "Choosy Moms Choose Boar's Head" have begun loitering around the Capitol, leading some to wonder if the salmonella was planted in peanut butter supplies by the ailing lunch meat industry. However, deli meat enthusiasts say it's simply time for the stalwart of the American lunch bag to get its due.
"Prepared meats are where it's at," said National Olive Loaf Federation spokesperson Simon Reed, whose own lunch meat has been nearing extinction for the past decade. "And by 'it' I mean cholesterol and sodium. Oh, and protein. I think there's protein, too."
The fallout from the salmonella scare is now reaching beyond simple peanut butter to include just about anything that may contain peanut butter or peanut butter products. It has even affected the Internet, where officials for YouTube have removed the popular Peanut Butter Jelly Time video over fears that it may be seen as promoting salmonella.
"What are kids going to think when they see this video? That peanut butter is cool and acceptable?" asked Dr. Ravi Lohari of Tufts Medical Center. "I suppose wretching and vomiting is cool and acceptable, too."
A new video entitled, Liverwurst And Mustard Time has begun to appear on video-sharing sites, complete with the catchy tag line, "Liverwurst and mustard on a bulky roll!"
Health experts warn that if the salmonella is not eradicated from the peanut butter supply within the next few weeks, officials may be forced to cancel National Peanut Month, set to kick off March 1.
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