Is peanut butter potentially hazardous?
Peanut butter is a not a potentially hazardous food. It is a low acid food, with a pH of approximately 6.28, however, it has a water activity of approximately 0.7. Because of the low water activity, bacteria cannot grow in it. Therefore, peanut butter as well as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches do not need to be refrigerated. (NOTE: Jelly has a low pH and a low water activity.)
Be sure to practice good personal hygiene and to prevent cross-contamination when handling peanut butter. While bacteria cannot grow in peanut butter, it could survive as evident by the large recall of peanut butter in 2007. Therefore, no bare hand contact is allowed when making or handling peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. And . . . always use cleaned and sanitized equipment and surfaces.