June 17, 2024

Sunland Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Salmonella Outbreak Over

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that the multistate outbreak of Salmonella Bredeney linked to Sunland’s Trader Joe’s Valencia Peanut Butter appears to be over. The last illness was reported on September 21, 2012. A total of 42 people from 20 states were infected with the outbreak strain of the bacteria. Sixty-one percent of ill persons were children under the age of four. Ten people were hospitalized in this outbreak.

Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has been contacted by some victims of this outbreak, stresses that these illnesses were completely preventable and solely the responsibility of Sunland and its distributors. “Peanut butter is easily contaminated with Salmonella and other bacteria. The facilities that produce it and those who distribute it must be sure that the product is safe to eat,” he said.

The final case count is as follows: Arizona (1), California (7), Connecticut (3), Illinois (1), Louisiana (1), Massachusetts (3), Maryland (1), Michigan (1), Minnesota (1), Missouri (2), New Jersey (2), New Mexico (1), New York (2), Nevada (1), North Carolina (3), Pennsylvania (2), Rhode Island (1), Texas (5), Virginia (2), West Virginia (2). Ill persons ranged in age from less than 1 year to 79 years. Fifty-nine percent of patients were male. No deaths were reported.

The outbreak was discovered in late September, and was traced to Trader Joe’s Valencia Creamy Peanut Butter with Sea Salt that was produced by Sunland Inc.¬†Over the next two months, the outbreak continued to grow and FDA officials converged on the Sunland plant to investigate. Testing found the outbreak strain of Salmonella Bredeney in opened jars of Trader Joe’s peanut butter. Product samples and environmental samples taken from the Sunland plant in Portales, New Mexico found the outbreak strain of the bacteria.

On November 26, 2012, the FDA suspended Sunland’s food facility registration. That means the company can no longer introduce food into intra- or interstate commerce. Once the company has satisfied public health officials that problems have been corrected, they will be allowed to reopen.

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