Sunland Inc., the peanut butter maker at the heart of a 20-state Salmonella outbreak, has been knowingly shipping peanut butter tainted by Salmonella since 2009, according to newly released reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). That revelation and a host of others were included in a report made by FDA inspectors after a month-long inspection that ended October 16, 2012.
The report, sent to Sunland President Jimmie D. Shearer, stated Sunland failed to make foods “under conditions and controls necessary to minimize the potential for growth of microorganisms and contamination. Specifically,” the report states, “Since 2009, your firm has distributed lots of peanut butter and nut butters that were positive for Salmonella.” The report then lists products that tested positive for Salmonella but were at least partially distributed. Those products include peanut butter that tested positive for: Salmonella Newport on June 10, 2009; Salmonella Dallgow on March 20, 2010; Salmonella Dallgow on February 2, 2011; Salmonella Arapahoe on August 18, 2011; Salmonella Teddington on August 18 and 19, 2011; Salmonella Cerro on August 19, 2011; Salmonella Mbandaka on September 19 and 23, 2011; Salmonella MaaRaalm and Kubacha on September 23, 2011; and Salmonella Bredeney on June 19, and July 14, 2012. There were also positive tests of Salmonella Meleagridis in almond butter on August 23, 2012.
During the inspection, FDA inspectors also found Salmonella in peanut butter that was not detected by Sunland. They noted that equipment was not cleaned after Salmonella was detected, that equipment was not cleaned adequately or maintained properly in general and that there were problems with storage of raw materials and pest control measures.
At least 41 people in 20 states have beeb sickened by the Sunland peanut butter outbreak. Most of them were children. More than 250 products containing Sunland peanut butter have been recalled including store brands fro Target and Trader Joe’s and Smucker’s Uncrustables made for the National School Lunch Program.