The Nutty Buddy, ranked the region’s most popular peanut-topped ice cream since 1978, has reached a shortage level not seen since the mid-1800s after the recent nationwide salmonella outbreak from contaminated peanuts, the Richmond Department of Delicatessen said today.
“We have taken measures to ensure that citizens are safe, and unfortunately, that has meant drastic cuts in everyone’s favorite summertime treat,” said Delicatessen Department spokeswoman Anne Kahlil. “As a matter of fact, I would even eat a Nutty Buddy in the dead of winter were it not for the threat of up-all-night vomiting, feverish chills, or a deadly bacterium incubating deep within my gastrointestinal tract for a period of two to four days causing blood to form in my stool.”
A sweep through area convenience stores and supermarkets yesterday by Tobacco Avenue reporters uncovered not a single package of Nutty Buddys, typically sold in boxes of eight. A listing on classified advertisement Web site Craigslist.org found two cases of the after-dinner treats that were manufactured before the December salmonella outbreak, though priced to meet demand at $2,000 apiece.
Kahlil notes a recent survey by the department of 400 registered eaters in Richmond found that nearly 97 percent consumed at least one Nutty Buddy daily before the salmonella outbreak. And the remaining 3 percent, the department’s report said, ate one of the chocolate sundae cones as a balanced part of each meal.
The survey’s margin of error was plus or minus zero points.
“I know our family would go through at least four packages of Nutty Buddys a day, sometimes even halfway through a fifth,” said Ashley Goff, a mother of three in the city’s North Side. “But we have to play it safe, so I threw out everything,” she said, holding back tears.
The Nutty Buddy shortage is expected to continue well into 2009, Kahlil said, with the recent E. Coli bacterium threat from the national Bottom Tip Of The Cone Filled With Chocolate-poisoning outbreak.